Sunday, May 25, 2008

Profile in Courage

My apologies to one and all for my unexplained absence. I just didn't turn on my computer for the last two weeks.

Today, I was in the presence of courage. I was at work, dealing with 30 pages of UPC codes and a hand-held computer when I noticed a gentleman in the soap/body wash aisle. He was about 60, neatly dressed, driving one of the electric scooter carts and obviously unable to reach whatever it was he wanted. I went over and asked if I could help.

He looked up at me, intelligence shining through his eyes. His right hand reached up toward me, clenching and unclenching. He attempted to speak but there were no words. I assume that he is recovering from a stroke.

I asked again if I could help and he nodded. I started pointing to body washes until I found the one he wanted. I put it in the basket and asked if there was anything else he needed. He nodded and struggled until he finally whispered the word "shampoo". We went three aisles over and, through trial and error, I located the correct shampoo. I took it off the shelf and put it in his basket.

We continued this way, the gentleman and I, until all of his toiletries were in his cart. He went toward the cashier area of the store and I said to him, as I say to almost everyone with whom I have contact, "You have a nice rest of your Sunday, sir."

After he left, I was struck by the amount of courage it must have taken for this man, barely able to communicate and totally unable to reach things either above or below him, to shop - alone and unaided. I think that, in his shoes, I would have just stayed home. I hope that, should I find myself in his shoes in later years, I will remember him and draw courage from this memory.

It made the rest of my day just sing.


WT said...

It may be courage, or it may be necessity, which is very sad.

laurie said...

i've missed you; it's nice to find this post.

i'm with WT--it's a combination of courage and necessity. you have to live life; you can't hide. you woudln't hide, either. but you handled it both with dignity, and that's no small thing.

Karmyn R said...

And he was fortunate to have you as his helper!!

nikki said...

He didn't want to give up, to stop living.

You were a hero too. Not many would have stopped and helped.

Pamela said...

I could only think how proud I am to know you .
Just think what would have happened had he been in the same aisle of someone who didn't have your humanity?

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I am sure you made his day as well!

I have a friend who just suffered a series of 3 strokes and watching her struggle is heartbreaking!

bichonpawz said...

I'm thinking it was very nice of you to take notice and stop and help this man. It is sad that so many would have just kept right on doing their own thing without paying him any attention at all. You should be very proud.

Sayre said...

What a great story - good for both of you!

Irish Coffeehouse said...

Isn't it amazing how others speak to loudly to us. What a great post!

And thank you for your kind words on my current war. Sorry, but that's exactly what it's feeling like. lol I'm sure you understand!

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