I hate Mondays with a passion, and today was no different. Up too early, with too little sleep, and too much on my mind, I drove Ciera to school. Complaining about the stupid college kids getting in my way, aggravated about how windy it was, and God Help Me, groaning inside about walking her into school.
Getting to the office, I had about 12 work related problems to take care of while I called the insurance company about switching policies and tried to get my taxes together for the accountant by 5 tonight. Throw in the usual work crap, grumpiness about it still being 3 months to Tedapalooza, and my still irrational anger at the Hollywood writers for taking 24 away from me, I had worked myself into a snit by noon.
Which just so happened to be the time I walked out of a convenience store after buying my mid-day Mt. Dew. As I walked to my car, a guy about 19 or so, sitting in his car, yelled out "Excuse me, Sir?"
Contrary to public opinion, I DO read the news, and immediately went into self defense mode; after answering "Yes?", he asked me if I could pump his gas for him. Still unsure of what in the world was going on, I walked a little closer and asked "Why?"
"I'm paralyzed" was the answer. To say I was shocked is an understatement, and still a little bit wary I walked to his door. When I got there, I could see the wheelchair folded up in the back and when I looked at him, I realized he had prosthetic legs from the knee down on both legs. Handing me $30 bucks and a look of thanks, I went back inside, paid for his gas, and upon getting back to his car, began to fill his tank.
I asked him if he was in the military; turns out he was a professional motorcross racer who had a wreck 9 months ago that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Like a dink, not sure what to say, I blurted out "How do you drive your car?". He patiently showed me the lever attached to his steering wheel that let him operate his car. I imagine he was thinking to himself "of all the gas stations in NC, I've got to pick THIS one".
After pumping his gas, he shook my hand, thanked me, and headed off to who knows where.
Right then it hit me. If that had been me, I'd still be feeling sorry for myself and asking God why it was me who this had to happen to. This guy? Nine months after the fact he'd gotten prosthetic legs and learned a new way to drive a car, he was out LIVING his life.
So, to the handicapped young man whose gas I pumped today, I've gotta say thanks. For reminding me that I have a great wife, 3 wonderful kids, and a pretty good life. Thanks for making me realize that for all the stupid stuff I get upset about, be it tax time or the smug looks of Arod and Jeter, that I'm healthy (physically, anyway), happy, and grateful for the family I was somehow blessed enough to end up with.
Good luck, man.
And God Bless.
Building for Keeps
6 days ago