We had a long drive, a very long drive, between Chicago and Grand Island, Nebraska. We must have somehow read the distance incorrectly because man those 10 hours were wicked. At first the scenery was lovely. Then it was occasionally nice. Then it was 'one freaking field after another'. Like a Roadrunner cartoon, it seemed like the same fields were maliciously passing us by.
The spirit of Halloween even entered our imagination. I had just closed the door of the car after having gone in to use the washroom. The wheelchair, as if guided by a wicked spirit hand, twisted left, twisted right, and then ran hell bent for leather at the car door behind which I was sitting screaming. It rammed against the car and was rolling back from the force only to be heading back towards me, quicker this time. Joe heard me screaming and ran over to stop the chair in it's bloodthirsty attack. The winds were wicked through that area and my wheelchair became possessed by the spirit of the wind. It was hard not to take it personally, like the chair was saying, 'would it hurt to loose a pound or two, huh, HUH?'
When it was next time for gas we ensured that we locked the chair whenever I was out of it. No more Stephen King experiences in the midst of cornfields. We were at a gas station called, oddly, 'kum and go' ... my first thought was of death - yeah, those two words describe what I would think to be the best way to leave this earth, kum ... and ... go.
It was a new store and there were two cut curbs to choose from. One into a restaurant, one into a convenience store. We entered the store and headed straight to the washroom. Back in the store, the aisle were wide and shopping was easy. We got everything we needed for the next part of the trip, if one could actually need jalapeno and process cheese roll ups that were fried crisp in a tortilla. (Maybe my wheelchair had a point.)
One of the staff helped us carry stuff to the car. She confessed that when she started there she thought the cut curbs were silly and the managers insistence that the aisles be wide enough for people in wheelchairs to get around were simply misguided (that's not exactly how she put it). Then I came into the store and she saw me leisurely pushing around the store going up and down aisles picking up stuff. She got it instantly, she said, 'Its just the way we can say 'welcome' to the store, 'glad you are here' ... isn't it.'
I told her that most stores did not have managers that insisted on welcome. My bet that if he is welcoming to me, he'll be welcoming to all, and probably be overall an good boss. She thought for a second, and said, 'you know he is, my husband says that Glen is kind right through.'
And that's it isn't it. Those with the capacity of welcome, the capacity to think of people yet to come and to prepare to make them comfortable, that's the indicator of someone with great soul and great heart. We're going to try and stop there on the way back for gas. We figure if he bothers to say welcome, we should stop and shop as a way of saying, 'thank you'.
Kum and Go, because of that experience, I will, as often as possible.