I rounded the back of the car and pushed myself up the cut curb. I think the crunching of salt under my tires caught his attention and he looked over at me. The school’s principal waved and commented on the mild night, I did too. He didn’t break his gait when he saw me, he kept on going towards the door as quickly as he had been before. We chatted about nothing, as people do, as we approached the door. It was clear he was getting to the door before me.
He hit the automatic door opener and the door swung open and he walked through. He did the same with the interior door and he walked through that too. All I saw was his back as I pushed through both open doors myself. Once in he asked where we would be sitting. I told him and he followed me to where we traditionally sit for the Christmas pageant. He moved a couple of chairs aside and then carried them away, entreating me to enjoy the show as he left.
Who is this guy?
I can’t tell you how awesome it was to meet with and chat with and follow into a building someone who simply didn’t react to the wheelchair. Almost everyone does something, slow down, speed up, step aside, make a huge arc around, something. He did nothing. Almost everyone would have made a big deal about the door, holding it, getting in the way holding it, flattening themselves against the wall while holding it, something.
But I followed him in, saw only his back.
Like I was an adult.
Like I was competent.
Like I was independent.
Like I had the skills to get myself around unaided.
Like I lived a life wherein I didn’t need the kindness vultures, circling above me, swooping in to aid in every task.
But mostly like I was an adult.
It was a great start to a great evening. Ruby and Sadie did well and I watched them with a kind of awe. Who are these lovely kids, how did they grow so tall?
Also, I got to see a kindergarten Mary and an Angel get into a shoving match over who got the mike. Mary won and said her piece unapologetically. Go Mary.
But the best gift of the evening was the principal’s back.
Ahead of me.
Going through the door.
A Holiday Miracle.