Went to dinner in a place called Kelowna while in Canada, & ate at a restaurant called Cactus Club.
It was one of those scene-y type places, hard to get a table, so my bud Steve & I sat at the bar. Abt 10 min in, the manager asked us if we’d move over from the end of the bar, a few seats in, to accommodate a gentleman in a wheelchair (who, due to the size of his chair, could only sit on the end). Of course we obliged.
I was sitting next to the guy – in his upper 50’s, gray hair, slurred speech, atrophied muscles. He could not have been nicer. He shared how he was a motivational speaker, looking to get into more schools to spread a msg of overcoming challenges. Incredibly (but still sadly in my mind), he was there alone to grab a bite & check out the “scene.”
Steve, a career firefighter, said to me after – “You really handled that well. You treated him like he was any other guy sitting next to you.” Those were humbling words coming from someone who understands the importance of every single life.
But what I explained to Steve was – how my own experience w PTSD changed my perspective tremendously…how I now see the world as a group of ppl, each of us faced w challenges to varying levels, even if many of those challenges are invisible.
This is not meant to downplay the challenges those w physical disabilities face, but instead, to say that the world is a sea of beautiful ppl, all fighting something.
When we’re young we only SEE the ppl who are “different” bc we don’t know any better. A person in a wheelchair, w Down syndrome, etc. Sadly, it’s common to stare bc things look diff to us. But the truth is, we all face challenges, & if you think of all the invisible challenges, you can start to see a world where a person is a person is a person, still w a heart, a mind, & a soul. It’s a beautiful feeling when you no longer see “someone in a wheelchair” but instead, just another “person sitting at the bar.”
We have a # of upcoming Heroes to intro you to in the coming wks, w physical disabilities who are extraordinary. Can’t wait for you to meet them.