It happened again. I had just spoke at a ladies meeting for someone who had known me since I was a kid. This meeting, however, was the first we had spent time together since I became paralyzed. I was admiring their nice new ramp they had just added to their facilities and she told me that she never used to think of these things, but now…..now, she notices and wants things the right way for those of us in chairs. She is not the first.
My aunt was with me that same night. She quickly recalled how that she and I had been in a Burger King together and I could not use the handicap stall because the door was hung backwards and swung inside the stall. I could not fit in the stall and close the door. She went and got the manager and brought him in the ladies restroom and asked him to fix that door before we returned.
My cousin is a cop. He saw someone park at a store in a handicap parking spot and went inside the store and made them come back out and move their car.
I have dear friends who have built ramps into their homes, have chased people away from parking spots (and have spoken up about it), added ramps to their church choir lofts, asked me to take tours of their church properties and assess the disability needs of their facilities and make needed changes and have done everything possible to take seriously our inclusion in normal life.
I am speaking soon at a Ladies Conference and they have made sure that my needs will be taken care of. I have received questions about the platform, ramps, the hotel room…all to make sure that my needs will be taken care of. This has happened over and over as I have traveled.
I don’t care how many times it happens, it always makes my heart glow. It means so much to me that because of what has happened in my life, those who love me make it important in their lives and notice. It isn’t that they notice for me, they notice because of me. Obviously, I reap the rewards of that but so do many others just like me! It thrills me to see that my friends not only want to help me, they want to be a friend to others like me. That. Is. So. Cool.
I don’t have anything profound to say except thank you. To all of you amazing people out there who work a little harder than everyone else to not only understand, but help to make the changes, thank you. It means more to me than you could ever know and I just don’t want to let it slip by unnoticed. Thank you for thinking beyond yourself. Thank you for thinking of our needs. Thank you for allowing us to keep our dignity. Thank you for making the changes. Thank you for not only being hearers of our needs, but being doers to make them all little easier.
You are my heroes.