Power of the Chair
Last updated: November 2023
When people see another person in a wheelchair, a subtle transformation occurs, and they do their best to act with kindness.
The "kindness bubble"
Often strangers extend their hands to hold open doors, offer assistance, and just in general, create a warm and welcoming environment. This atmosphere, which I have come to call the "kindness bubble," surrounds Mike, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t benefit me as well. It tends to bring out the best in people, their instinct to help one another. In that sense, the chair is a physical testament to the human spirit, a shrine of resilience! It has a magnetic quality.
The chair fuels conversation
A funny example of this happened the other day when we were down at Penn Hospital for a procedure. While Mike was having his procedure I was sitting in his chair reading and an old man sat next to me. He said, “get around ok in that thing?” but before I could even answer that I was just holding it for my boyfriend, the old man dove into his life story. People love a captive audience. The chair was all he needed to strike up a conversation. That’s the power of the chair.
No pity party here
Mike always tries to stay positive and upbeat. He doesn’t want people to pity him or to bring people down in anyway. Of course his positive attitude and friendly disposition are key factors here; I surely don’t want to give all the credit to a chair. His handsome face doesn’t hurt either.
One time we went to the beach and 5 or 6 friendly strangers helped me carry him in and out of the water. I could never have done it myself, I thought I could, but they saw me struggling and rushed over right away.
The other night we went to a music festival at a farm. It was getting chilly so Mike and I went up to the bonfire pit. The fire had died down, so I started trying to revive it with little sticks. Several guys in their 20’s saw us and immediately went into the woods to collect wood, they came back with arms full, and before long we had a blazing fire to warm up to.
No one wants to have SMA, but we can’t deny that we have relied on the kindness of strangers and that we have enjoyed it.
Grateful for others' kindness
Often it occurs to me how fortunate I am to be shrouded in the kindness bubble that Mike brings into our relationship. It's not just the physical assistance or the gestures of goodwill; it's about the way people respond when they are around us. The chair brings out their warmth, and breaks the ice which often leads to meaningful conversations and connections with people. It doesn’t hurt that Mike has a natural gift for gab. Aries men are notoriously flirtatious, and Mike is no exception.
In a way, Mike's wheelchair is not just a mobility aid; it's a symbol of resilience, an emblem of positivity, and a catalyst for kindness. His ability to spark conversations, dissolve barriers, and to inspire acts of compassion, is a constant reminder of the power of the human spirit.
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