By Elaine Carlson

I was driving through Missouri on my way back to Silver City from a convention I went to in Madison Wisconsin when I decided to stop at a Walmart. When I got to the front entrance I was happy to see an electric cart because I am physically disabled. I thought I was all set.

But just as I was walking towards it a man got there first. Finger snapping quick he sat down in it and drove off. I told myself now I have the opportunity to get some exercise and went and got a shopping cart. I always tell myself something stupid like that whenever I get a set back.

While I was looking at canned fruits a man in a cart came around the bend. I quickly realized it was the same man (and same cart). He said he wanted to let me have it.

I told him he didn't need to give me the cart.

“It is first come first serve,” I said, “And you got there first.”

He shook his head and said, “I don't need this. You need this.”

It seemed like he caught himself and simply said,“You need this.”

He started to take the groceries out of the big basket and put them into my cart. I followed his lead and put my things into the basket. It didn't take long for the transfer to be complete.

I thanked him – I profusely thanked him.

“You can pay me back by praying for me,” he said, “Tomorrow I am going have knee surgery.”

“I certainly will.”

We don't have any more conversation. He takes off pushing the cart and I am start driving around the store.

I am pretty sure his family and maybe his doctor (or doctors) encouraged him to use an electric cart when he is in a grocery store. I say that because a knee injury is not a trivial matter. When he was talking to me he seemed to want to retract his statement, “I don't need this.”

A lot of times I have known people (mostly the elderly) who have physical problems but don't want to take advantages of the special accommodations extended to the elderly and the disabled.

Once I was talking with a cousin. She was really getting exasperated with her mother for not wanting to get a Disabled Parking Permit. My aunt would always say they might take a space that a “disabled person” would need. And of course she felt the same way about using the special carts in grocery stores. And as my cousin said, “She is 97 and a half.” She was not just old but had physical problems and walking was difficult for her.

And I have to admit at the early days of my handicap I felt uncomfortable about getting special treatment. But over the years I have gotten over being bothered by such things. And there have been a number of years have gone by – in about two and a half years I will have been a disabled person for fifty years.

One time I had to go to court for a heating. When the case was called and I started to walk toward the front the judge looked at me. He pointed to one of the court employees and said, “Bring her a chair.” So I was able to be seated while I answered that judges questions.

And many times I have gotten on crowded buses and a person would jump up from a seat so I could have it. There have been times when the driver would stand up and point to someone, “Get up so she can sit there.”

Well life goes on having my disability is not the only thing is important about my life.

P.S. To provide the information my readers might want. I had that conversation with my cousin two years ago. And so my aunt (her mother) is now 99 and a half. My cousin is thinking about what to do to celebrate her mother's 100th birthday (“if she makes it). And I think that special day will be May 17 or June 17.

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