We approach a day of travel with some dread. Something will go wrong, big or small, something will go wrong. It started hopefully, we got up on time, were ready on time were down for the bus not only on time but early. The bus itself was there early and we got a straight ride to the airport. We checked our bags, and headed to the gate. Thus far, nothing remarkable but I’m mention it anyway, I’d pushed myself from the apartment to the bus, from the bus to the bag check and now it was getting to the gate. The woman at bag check asked if I needed assistance getting to the gate. It was the furthest gate from the desk.
I told her that I didn’t need help. Nope, I was going to do it on my own.
I’ve never done this before but I’ve been working out, I’ve got stronger shoulders, my arms pump iron, not much iron but iron nonetheless. I headed off. Got to security, I’ve never made it that far unassisted before. Feeling confident. Made it to the first rolling sidewalk and I knew I was golden. I hold on to the handrail of the sidewalk and let it pull me along. I’ve done this for years. One done, push to the other, do it again. This is one time I see admiring stares from strangers, they think in ingenious, and maybe it is a little.
Suddenly, I’m at the gate. I’m thrilled. I’m a little tired, a little sweaty, but it’s an accomplishment. I could never, ever, have done that before, at any time before in my nine years in a wheelchair. Rah. We find out that we have a seat left between us, so we’re going to fly in comfort. This may be a trip without incident. We begin to hope.
We both know, DON’T HOPE, it’s a trap.
Then we’re asked if I need help down the ramp. I don’t and say so, I’m invited to go down to the plane. Easily down the first big ramp, on to the bouncy, bouncy, ramp, the final one, and halfway down, SNAP!! My right wheelchair leg broke off. My foot dangled, the metal pieces falling like a teeny tiny meteor shower. Joe grabs the pieces he can find, we both know it’s a futile gesture because it’s truly destroyed, but he does it, I’m glad he does it. We get tot he plane, onto the plan and into our seats.
While on the plane and in the air they announce that we can, if we wish as passengers, buy Internet time. I take our phone. Sign up. Pay the fee. And immediately begin. I look up wheelchair places in ‘Seattle, find their web pages, find their contact us information and contact them. Tell them what I need, what’s gone wrong, and ask for help. I find one in Burnaby, Motion Specialties, and write them. I put a note on Facebook and get numbers for places in Seattle. I feel like I’m doing something and I really get how amazing it is to be in the air and on line trying to fix a problem.
A guy named Mike, from Motion Specialties contacts me. He’s at home, it’s really early still in Vancouver, but he wants to see pictures of the footrest. Thank heavens we have it and most of the parts. I take two pictures, on of the rest as it is, another with a major piece back on it. I send them. This is amazing, living in modern times, doing modern things. He writes back that he doesn’t have any new ones but may have a used on that might work. He sends me the address of the business, which he says is on the way to the border, which is the way we’re going, and I tell him I’ll call from the rental car.
I call him and we drive to the store. Joe goes in with the ‘good footrest’ and out he comes moments later with Mike who is holding a footrest. He wants to put it on my chair and make sure it works. He does, it does. Then he notices that the new one has a smaller foot plate than my old one. He quickly switches them so I’ll have the same rest area for my feet. This guy is the General Manager of the place and he’s out there kneeling down fixing my chair and actually caring that I have the best of what they could get for me and in doing so giving the best of himself.
As nice people tend to do,, he brushed off my thanks as ‘nothing’, as Joe followed him back into pay. It was a used part so it didn’t cost much. While Joe was in there paying, I sat there deep in gratitude. This guy read my note, saw the urgency of the situation, wrote to me right away, then, helped out in every way possible. All the way through he was kind and supportive, really wanting to provide the best of service. And he did.
We were on our way less than 10 minutes later, with a new footrest.
My trip was saved.
No other company that I wrote answered. I checked this morning. Still nothing.
But I got so much more than nothing from one guy in one place. I’ve always said that the world will change if we all realized it just takes one person doing one thing for one person. Well, my world was changed, my sense of the trip was changed, because one person did one thing for me.
Here’s my shout out to Mike and all the folks at Motion Specialties in Burnaby.