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I'm Thankful for the Help of Strangers

Now that Thanksgiving is only 4 days away and Christmas is just around the corner, it brings back a memory from 2 years ago that makes me laugh and smile. I woke up one morning in December 2015 and decided I was going to venture out to Kohl’s all by myself (no wheelchair, no walker and no company.) You may be asking yourself, “Why?” but I was all wound up, full of energy and I wanted to finish Christmas shopping for my family. When I walked into the store, all of the carts were gone so I had to stand around and wait a few minutes. I debated leaving the store because no matter how much energy I have in one given moment, it’s destined to diminish quickly; however, I stuck it out and eventually I had a cart and was off shopping. I managed to walk through almost every department and even tried on some clothes but on my way to check out, my legs quit on me.

As I held onto the cart for dear life and prayed that it wouldn’t tip over and that I wouldn’t end up on the floor in the middle of the busy store, I laughed at myself for doing too much. Then, an internal battle ensued. My mind said, “Baby steps. We can do this” and my legs said, “We don’t think so.” So, being the stubborn person that I am, I persevered and made it to the checkout counter and purchased all of my Christmas presents. Then, I thought to myself, “How am I going to make it from here to the car?” Even though I parked in the handicap section, it still seemed like it was parked 100 miles away. I convinced myself to just take one step at a time and start walking. As I got close to the exit, I noticed an adorable older couple with silver/white hair walk in the door with their Dunkin' Donuts coffees. She was looking around for a cart and I was looking around for a miracle so I motioned to her that I had a cart. When she came over, I said to her, “You can have my cart if I can borrow your husband for a minute.” She said, “Yes” right away and proceeded to take my cart and say to her husband as she was walking away, “I’ll be shopping in the kids department for our grandchildren when you get back.” When I looked up at him, he was all smiles. I don’t think he heard a thing that his wife said. He proceeded to hold out his arm for me and even take the big shopping bag I was holding. On our walk to the car, I thanked him profusely and explained that I had Multiple Sclerosis and sometimes my legs go on vacation without the rest of my body and he laughed and said, “It’s no problem at all. I help out my wife like this sometimes too.” When I think back on that day now, I wonder which one of us was more grateful and had more fun? It was definitely a win/win situation and I am truly thankful that he and his wife walked into the store at the precise moment that I needed assistance. I have asked for help on several occasions and have found that there are some really nice people in this world that are more than willing to go the extra mile for a stranger.

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