I was just finished my workout on the arm ergometer at the gym and rolled off the platform. I turned to head towards the cable machine, which had not been in use when I checked before shutting down the machine. Someone, a fellow I’d seen before, was there about to start. He glanced over and saw me and said, “Were you wanting to use this?”

I said, “Yes, but you go ahead and I’ll use one of the other machines.” While it was true there were other machines but one I use only for a few minutes and the other is really hard to use because of the height I have to reach. He said, “Go ahead, I’ll come back later.”

“No, no,” I protested.

He said, “I’ve seen you here many times, I know you use the cable machine when you are finished on that one. You’ve only got a few options here and I have a lot of options. I’ll just do something else.”

I was really surprised that he’d noticed that while the gym is accessible enough for me as a disabled person, all the running and rowing and biking and stretching machines are not possible for me. My legs don’t work well enough for them. I use the upper body machines at the gym and do low impact lower body workouts at home. So he was right. I had fewer options. He was also right that he had way more options than I did.

So I thanked him and moved over to set up the cable machine.

This kind of help, or consideration, I like. Not because I got the machine that I wanted, although I was pleased at that, but because the offer was made based on his understanding of fairness. He – many options. Me – few options.

Although his act was kind, it’s not the kindness that  I appreciated most, it was the awareness of fairness and an offer to level the playing field a bit.

I left feeling like I’d done a good workout and that I’d experienced an interaction with a really good person.

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