Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Few Leaves

As I was driving to visit my sons today, I noticed a woman in a wheelchair on the sidewalk next to a van parked at the curb. The van had a ramp that was partially unfolded, but seemed to be stuck. The woman held something in her hand – I couldn’t tell if it was a control for the van or perhaps a cell phone. As I passed by, I looked for a driver or someone nearby who might be helping her, but I saw no one.

I continued another block or two wondering whether an offer of help would be appropriate or an unwelcome intrusion, and also thinking of the time since I was already late. But that little voice was poised to start nagging, so I circled back to see if she was still there. Sure enough, nothing had changed. I pulled over behind her van, got out, and asked her if she needed some help. Yes, she said. If I could just pull the bottom section of the ramp out, it would flatten out. It was easy enough to do, requiring only a gentle tug. The ramp had gotten stuck on a small pile of autumn leaves.

I asked her if she needed further assistance to get in the van or to get the ramp back up, but she assured me she could do the rest herself. As I drove off, I watched in the rear view mirror as she deftly maneuvered the chair up the ramp and into the van.

This woman had a state of the art wheelchair and van so that she could move about independently. A marvel of technology and engineering, providing self-sufficiency and freedom. And yet, it all came to a halt over a few leaves.

It took me all of 45 seconds to hop out of my car, unstick her ramp, get back into my car, and drive off. I’ve spent the last several hours thinking about how easy that was for me. In any given minute of our lives, how much do we take for granted?


  1. Excellent post, Galen. I think not only how much we take for granted but also how often it is something simple, like a few leaves, that gets in our way. In this case, her obstacle was simple, yet legitimate. But so many times, at least in my case, it's simple and NOT legitimate.

    Kudos to you, not only for lending the helping hand, but also recognizing that it might have been an intrusion.

    Happy Sunday!!

  2. How many times do I not stop, or worse, not see? Thanks for sharing. Blessings.


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