Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Gift: The Guy From Campbell River

When in Campbell River working, I met a nice young guy who showed me a safety sticker he had designed for a family who had a child with autism. It was a cool sticker that presented emergency information to emergency personnel how to best support the child in an emergency. It was done with care and with tact and with an amazing amount of discretion. I was impressed.

From there I told him my story of having my wheelchair being stolen from the gate of the airplane twice now, most recently a couple weeks ago when landing in Vancouver. He mentioned that he could make stickers for my chair that could, perhaps, help. The next day he came in with a set of three. I was thrilled, anything to make me feel safer leaving my chair and getting on the plane.

We put it on for our flight to Edmonton and they were on, of course, our flight home. We put one on each side of the chair and one down the inside back of the chair. That was the one that really stood out when the chair was folded. No problem with either flight. The back sticker is likely not going to last long because of the friction, or whatever, that is caused by my pushing myself, it's slowly loosening, but it doesn't matter. I have an idea now.

This guy, with no connection to me at all, simply attending the conference, had the generosity to make these for me, he refused payment of any kind, he just did it because he could, and, as he approached it, why wouldn't he. Me, I saw it differently, as a huge gift. Not just of the stickers, but of understanding, caring and action. Lots of people are good at the first two but not so good at the third. This guy, he had it down.

So thanks guy from Campbell River, you made my flight home so much better, I felt so much safer ... and 'safer' is maybe the biggest gift you can give anyone.


Girl on wheels said...

I have personalised my wheelchair, with stickers on the sides and little plastic stars on the the wheel spokes. Mostly that was to make the chair feel more like mine, part was to provide conversation fodder to other people so they could mention the elephant in the room without feeling awkward, and the smallest part was to make it very obvious the chair belongs to someone. I’m rarely out of my wheelchair in public, but it does happen sometimes and I’ve heard far too many horror stories about wheelchair thefts to believe it couldn’t happen to me. I know that Firefly stickers aren’t going to stop a serious thief but they might stop a causal thief in their tracks. It’s hard to believe that a wheelchair with stickers and little stars on the wheels doesn’t matter to someone, that they won’t miss it if it was stolen. And that’s all I really need, for that would be thief to stop and think about that.

It’s become a bit of a thing, my dressed up wheelchair. I have felt flowers and butterflies I put on the wheels on special occasions, sometime I wind ribbons through the spokes. I always get smiles and laughter when I dress up my chair, people are delighted by it. And it stops the awkward questions about what happened to me, why I need the chair because they are too busy asking how I got the idea to do this or where the decorations came from. I’m in the process of getting a new wheelchair, one that has been customised specifically to me. I’m happy with the colour I picked, I’ve bought a whole new batch of stickers to decorate it. There will be no doubt that this wheelchair belongs to someone, that they love it and need it. I shouldn’t have to prove that, but as you well know I do need to.

SammE said...

Is there a contact for the person from Campbell River? I'd be interested in his autism sticker idea for my friend's grandson.

clairesmum said...

Hope the person from Campbell River is inclined to grow his sticker business a would certainly fill a need.

And wheelie girl, the idea of using your chair to express your own personhood sounds very effective. And lighthearted.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your wonderful comments Dave. It was my pleasure to make those decals for you, I hope it has helped you, if even in the smallest way.. have a wonderful day. Jeff Baulne.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Jeff's decals on demand on face book.. thanks