This is Deborah.
When I first met her, she was trying to cross the street.
To be more specific, she was holding up traffic for what seemed like five minutes. Trying to walk across the road, within the marked crosswalk, and she was literally only moving by inches at a time.
This is not very fast when there are four lanes of vehicles watching you.
I was one of these vehicles. One of my first thoughts was, it’s so nice to see everyone sitting so patiently while she crosses the road. Then I started watching her. She can seriously barely move. Alternately shuffling each of her legs.
I look around. We are on Calihoo Road, near the forest. There is nothing but trees and hills really.
Where is she going?
How will she ever get there?
I spin the truck around and park beside her. Roll down the window and offer her a ride to wherever she needed to go. She was so grateful!! I hopped out and folded up her piece-of-crap walker into the back of the truck (it was rickety, ancient, and did not even have wheels) and asked her where she needed to go.
Deborah wanted to go to a thrift store to buy a VCR.
Ummm… ok then. We can do that.
Then she said she was new in town, could I show her where the library was? Could I show her where the grocery store was? Could I show her where the food bank was?
Clearly, she was not able to move very well so I ran into the thrift store to look for a VCR while she stayed in the truck. They did not have one. So, I call Trevor to tell him that I was taking this lady home to give her ours.
Of course you are, he says.
She quietly asked if we could stop at the 7-11 on the way home to grab her some milk too and I filled her bags with the best groceries that I could find in the 7-11 before I dropped her off at her apartment.
She was so happy with her new VCR!! You see, she has nothing. No phone. No computer. No cable. No clock. Nothing but absolute quiet.
Imagine that for a moment.
For months since that afternoon, I drove past her apartment, and I knew that something else needed to be done. I cannot stop thinking about her.
I think it all comes down to mobility. What good is knowing where the library is if you can’t actually get there? Day to day mobility. We all just hop into our vehicles, use our healthy legs, and just go.
Go for groceries. Go to work. Go shopping. Go to evening sports drop offs. Go to a friend’s house for coffee.
So, I take Trevor to her place and we knock on the door.
Yes, she remembers me! She is now using a hospital wheelchair (drags it forward with one foot while she sits in it, or uses the handles to walk/limp behind it).
We ask her if she would be able to use a motorized scooter. One with good wheels to get through the snow. One with a basket to carry some groceries home.
One that is red… because that was what my own Grandma used and let me tell you, she ripped up and down her small town streets everyday and loved every minute of her freedom on that thing!
Mobility is everything when you don’t have it.
Deborah was totally shocked, and said yes, please yes! Really? Who are you guys?
We explained to her that this is how we say thank you to our customers. To all of the people that come into our shop every week, we give on behalf of them. This is how we give back to our community.
She was scooting around so fast today that even our kids couldn’t keep up with her while she tried out her new wheels!
Deborah said thank you again for the VCR too. “I only had one movie to watch. Gone With the Wind. I watched that movie at least five times a day. It was a very dark time in my life. Moving here in the winter. Having no idea where I was. No phone. No clock. No way to leave. I have been trying to return this library book for 8 months.”
We returned her library book for her and paid the late fees on it lol
If you see Deborah scooting around on her new shiny red scooter, know that she is happy, free to move around the city now, and that you did that.
You made a difference.
And oh! We will never ask for donations or extras from you… but I thought that if you have any VCR video tapes kicking around that you don’t use anymore, it might be kind of fun to drop off a box of them at her door. If you bring one into the shop we will make sure it gets to her.
Always stay humble and kind.
Amanda & Trevor Wilhauk
Wilhauk Beef Jerky Ltd. Spruce Grove