Unnamed Unlikely Hero
By GaelMc on August 05, 2011
See the thing about the written word is that it lacks a dimension. It cannot portray the essence of feeling you get when you see a person. I have to leave you to conjure that for yourself. My today’s unnamed hero is someone whose name I do not know. But he created a feeling in me. Picture this, it’s the early morning commute on a bus. Yanno buses are never the most comfortable mode of transportation. No seat belts, seats more worn than supportive, routes that take you down streets you do not need to go with people you cannot select out or choose, and they are too close. If you are lucky enough to get a seat other riders stand around you. They balance by holding onto overhead straps and lurch against you as the bus stops and starts. And it stops and starts frequently. If you are not lucky enough to get a seat you are the one lurching against others. And they charge you for this. It is a hard enough journey for the able bodied. Enter my hero.
He was shorter than the average man, about 25 years of age I would say. He fought his way onto the bus. If a woman needed his seat he stood for her. He wore "office clothes", pressed shirts, ties and dress slacks. He carried a lap top in a back pack he strangely strapped to his chest. He paid full fare although he was eligible for a reduced fare. The reason? He wore calipers and used those old fashioned crutches that are more “worn” than carried. The ones with the bracelet type loops that the wearer threads his arms through in order to hold handles. He has cerebral palsy. He could have stayed at home on a disability pension, he could have used it to get reduced fares, he could have remained seated while women or the aged or the pregnant around him stood. But he did not. The reason he had to fight his way onto the bus was he fought his own disability not the crowd to maneuver up those steps and onto the bus. Arms and legs that did not move as expected or support him as needed.
I never spoke a word to him, I never knew one detail of his life other than what I could observe. I never did know where he was going or what he was going do once he got to the city, but he went on the same route very day. I met him at day’s end, on the return bus every late afternoon. He was, and is one of my unlikely, unnamed heroes. The feeling he created in me was 'I want to to be as courageous and as determined to use what I have rather than fuss over what I don't have, as he is'.
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