Updated: Apr 12
I was at the gym and a man in a motorized wheelchair came in. Clearly he had no function in his legs and limited function in his arms and hands.
He looked toward the Smith Machine as if he wanted to use it but someone else was on it with full weights on each side.
So, he made his way over the dumbbells in front of the mirrors and attempted to put his water bottle down on the floor next to him but it toppled over out of his reach.
Ironically, I was working on my legs today and as I was, I was watching him. I was on my last set; no energy, legs shaking, but still debating whether I should go ask if he needed some help with something.
Now you may ask why it was even a question of whether I should ask or not, but the problem is that we live in a prideful and overly politically correct society where if we ask a handicapped person, a woman or an elderly if they need assistance, we risk being faced with resistance and maybe even embarrassment as are lectures with a rant that "we [they] don't need anyone's help! I can do it myself just like you - move along! " in front of others in a public setting.
But I'm a compassionate human being and I don't care if I had to face something like that in order to just ensure everyone is living the life they deserve and strive for. This guy was here at the gym doing what he can and I wanted to make sure he achieved what he came there for.
I walked over (barely, my legs were shaking at this point) and sat down next to him and cautiously asked if he needed anything. Pick up a set of weights? Pick up his toppled water bottle? He politely declined with a struggled "No, thank you. I'm all set." At this point I realized he also had developmental issues and my heart sank further.
I reassured he didn't need anything and got up. I walked over to the Smith Machine he was eyeing and just mentioned to the guy who was using it to fully unrack his weights and lower the bar so that the guy in the wheelchair could use it. He acknowledged it and continued on.
If you're reading this, I hope you take something away from it. Never be afraid to speak out and speak up for those who have a smaller voice than you and never, ever be afraid to offer your assistance to ANYONE.
We are all humans and we all need each other at some point in our lives.