So, here's what happened. I rolled into the office and as I pulled into the elevator I both heard and felt whatever holds my front right wheel nearly disintegrate. Rolling to my office felt a bit like hobbling like I did in my youth when I severely sprained my ankle. I was panic-struck. I have a lot of travel coming up, including a flight two days hence. I had someone take a look at it at the office and he thought he could fix it the following morning. As hard as he tried, he was unsuccessful but said that the wheel would definitely stay on but it would be wobbly.
I did a Google search in Thunder Bay and found a wheelchair repair place, a branch of the one I usually use, Motion Specialties. I called them and described my problem to a really nice woman named Terry and when I told her what time we were to land the next day, she told me to come on over and they'd take a look at it.
That's what we did.
I stayed in the car and Joe took in the chair. They'd need, I thought, to turn it over to look at the wheel and that would be hard to do with me in the chair. I suggested to Joe that I could call from the car to talk to the repair person or, if it was easier, they could come out to me. Dan, the repair guy, chose to come out to speak with me. It's a bit hard to describe, even here, what my exact concerns were, given that the chair isn't made any more and certain difficulties I have with the chairs that are currently on the market and why I needed things done in a particular way and how I wanted him to be making decisions as he moved forward.
He listened, to understand, not to question.
That is incredibly difficult to find in a person generally. It's even more difficult when bridging the disabled/non disabled communication gap into which experience battles it out with expertise. When he left I felt he had truly understood my concerns. Even if he couldn't fix it, the exchange had been worth my time.
A few minutes later he was back with an update and wanted direction. I knew what I wanted him to do, but it would be time consuming and there was an easier, although more temporary fix. He'd been so decent that I felt that I owed him an honest answer. So, I asked him if would be possible to do something, let me try it and if it doesn't work to undo it and do something different. He got it, understood why I made that decision, given the fact that he'd listened in the first place, and set off for trial number one.
I turns out that the more permanent fix worked and we didn't need to do more.
I'm not done yet.
When paying I asked them about purchasing something that would make my brakes really grab the wheel. They had become slack and the tires are worn down. Terry went and got Dan and he looked at it and said, I don't think you need to by anything, there's give here I'll grab my tools and fix it. So there in the office the breaks were made like brand new, no extra charge.
Joe and I hesitated to call this miraculous but to find a place far from home that can fit you in during the time you have, and have the parts, and the ability to fix it while you wait in the car. It took less than an hour for this all to happen.
This is my formal shout out to Dan and Terry at Motion Specialties in Thunder Bay.
Thank you both for listening, taking my concerns seriously, and helping me out with both kindness and welcome. I appreciate it way more than you can know.