Not my usual travel post. This happened to me today in my home town of Brisbane, Australia.
I experienced something this morning that moved me greatly.
I was bustling towards the shopping centre from the car park when an elderly lady stranger stopped me. She was slim and fragile, bent over, under five feet tall, wearing dark glasses, had callipers on both her legs and was walking with the aid of a wheeled walking frame. She could not cross the car park to the footpath alone. She said she used to have a white stick but now cannot as she needs the walker. She asked me to assist her by holding down the front of her walker and accompanying her to safely walk across the car park and up the pathway through incoming people and cafe tables and chairs. I was happy to help her. We could only walk very slowly. What would normally only take me about a minute, took us about ten. As we walked she explained her situation.
She had lost the use of her legs late last year as a result of post polio syndrome, polio she had defeated in her youth and had returned last year to her body attacking both legs and her heart. Her doctor had advised she would not walk again but she kept telling herself that she can walk and every day makes herself walk and walk. She has sensations now in her legs which are moving, as she said, ‘on their own” as opposed to her having to drag them with her body. She refuses to get taxis, but gets two buses to take her to the chemist to collect her prescriptions, this also means significant walking. She is so determined to use her legs and regain her independent movement. As I walked with this amazing little lady to the chemist shop I was totally in awe of her and her resilience. It made me put my life clearly in perspective. When I left her sitting on the chair in the chemist shop awaiting her prescription, I was almost in tears, her strength of will had moved me so very much.
When I finished my shopping, after about an hour and a half, I looked for her, I even walked to the bus stop to see if I could see her, but she was gone. I hope I remember her next time I think about complaining about anything minor.