Old Man in a Wheelchair

A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting at a traffic light when I noticed this old man in a wheelchair having trouble getting off a bus. It was the end of my day and I had no further obligations, so I decided to see if he needed some help.

I pulled my car over to the side, walked up to him, and asked him if he wanted me to help him get home. He said, “Yes.” I asked him if he knew where he lived. He said, “Yes.” He lived only a few blocks away from me.

So I pushed him across the main street and bid him farewell, because we were only a couple of blocks away from his apartment. He thanked me and offered to say a Catholic prayer.

After I drove back and parked my car, I decided to return to where I had left him, because I wasn't sure if he was going to get home safely. I offered to push him all the way to his apartment, and he accepted.

While pushing him, I noticed that his wheelchair didn’t have footrests. I asked him why and he said that someone had stolen them.

I learned some things about the man while we talked. I learned that he was 71, that he recently had cataract surgery, and that he recently needed to be resuscitated. By connecting this information with the information I gathered through observation, I concluded that he had just returned from the hospital.

After pushing him into the lobby of his apartment building, I again bid farewell and he again offered to say a Catholic prayer.

This experience left an impression on me for a few reasons.

First, I was extremely disappointed and disheartened to hear that people steal parts of wheelchairs.

Second, this man reminded me of my dad. My dad is almost 71 and also recently had cataract surgery. It made me think that if my dad were to have an accident, he could easily end up like this man, who seemed at least 10 years older than what he really was.

And third, it was depressing to know that nobody picked him up from the hospital. I can only assume that he was also there by himself. How lonely of an existence it must be to have no one by your side in what may be your last moments of life.