Day 61: Wheel life

If this were the Good Deed Olympics, I achieved my own personal best today.

In earlier posts, I’ve mentioned my tendency to walk along lost in my own thoughts, generally oblivious to what’s going on around me.

(If there are any criminals out there who want to commit a crime in broad daylight in front of one of those witnesses who says they “didn’t see a thing” — that would be me).

Considering this, I amazed myself today on a visit to the rehab hospital chapel that my mom likes to return to for Sunday mass.

As we entered the front door of the hospital, I actually noticed that a man in a wheelchair was having great difficulty wheeling himself out. He was trying to make his way through an automatic doorway by pushing at the chair’s side wheels with stroke-stiffened hands while pulling himself forward with one foot.

I walked right past him at first before I caught myself and turned around. I quietly asked him if he needed a hand.

“A wee push outside would be grand,” he said in a gentle burr. One of his eyes was clouded and milky, the other alert and sky blue.

A tag dangled from his chair that read: “If lost, return to Room 521,” a notice usually placed on the wheelchairs of Alzheimer’s patients.

I wheeled him outside to a shady spot near the door. He said that location was fine and thanked me for helping.

After I headed inside to the elevator, I started to wonder if I’d done the right thing. (If you’ve been reading these posts from the beginning, you’ll know that some of my well-intentioned gestures have backfired.) I wanted to make sure the man hadn’t rolled downhill and tumbled off the sidewalk into a ditch, so I hurried back outside. But sure enough, he sat just where I’d left him and was snacking on a bag of peanuts that he shared with six or seven sparrows at his feet.

Phew, I thought, good deed disaster averted! Maybe not gold medal material, but I’m working on it….

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