Helping Hands

Helping Hands

It doesn’t take much to make a difference.

One small act of kindness.

But on this particular day who was helping whom?


Needs some lotion.

It was a typical hot & humid, dog-day of summer…and I was panting.

I eased the car into a spot at the grocery store and began unfolding my limp body from the seat.

A small & spindly elderly gentleman walked past and we exchanged nods.  His thin frame was covered in a long-sleeve shirt, long pants, with a fedora on his head.  It had to be hot.  I was wearing a t-shirt & shorts and that was STILL too much for this day.

I began my scuttling shuffle to the back of the car to remove my wheelchair and felt I was being watched.

I popped open the rear hatch and was about to lift the chair out when I was surprised by the old boy standing next to me.

“Can I help you with that?” he said.

I turned and took a better look.  He was tiny.  Frail.  And old.  He looked old enough to be around when Roosevelt was president—BOTH of them.  He was Gandhi-like.  But with quick, quiet moves of a ninja with an AARP card.  His baggy shirt and loose pants were being held together by thick suspenders with pictures of dogs on them.  While his fedora a head of whisper-thin hair (I’d seen more hair on an ear of corn).

“Aw no thank you sir, I got it.  I appreciate your offer though!”

“Okay” he said.  “My wife was in a wheelchair.  She had a stroke.”

“Oh” I responded, fumbling for something to say.  “Hey, I like your suspenders…your straps!”

“Braces!” he corrected me before getting into his car.

I proceeded lifting the wheelchair out, opening it and placing the cushion as he pulled away.  We gave each other a wave goodbye.

I sat and began rolling to the store when my old ninja friend appeared again.

“Here I’ll give you a push.”

“Oh, you don’t have to do that, I got….”.  I gave up before finishing my sentence, letting him push me to the front door.

You see, here’s the deal.  I don’t like to be pushed in my wheelchair.  I–I–I don’t want to look…”disabled.”  My weak form of denial, I suppose.

Sharing this story to a friend, she concluded maybe his wife had passed and this was his way of giving back—helping someone else.  She added the situation probably made him feel good, useful, needed once again.

I agreed.  Hearing it put that way made me glad I gave in and let him push away.

Accepting an MS diagnosis is difficult, but accepting help can be just as hard if you are an independent cuss.  It takes some getting used to that’s for sure.  Unless, of course, the helping hands are from someone wearing dog suspenders.

5 Replies to “Helping Hands”

  1. I, too deny help all the time, but I think people just want to help‼️ MA sucks but surprisingly is made better by kind people. Don’t forget that. If they can didn’t want to help, they Just wouldn’t. So bless the kind people in the world 🙏

    1. Joanne,
      You are right. People ask to help me all the time…which is fantastic! I have accepted their offer in the past. Sometimes you just have to. And for that I am thankful. Thank you for your insightful comment!

  2. It is hard to accept help. I think most MSers are independent people? I am happy people do want to help, makes the world a better place. I still go along attempting to open my own doors after so many years…..

    1. Kim,
      Makes me happy too when folks ask to help—gives me a good feeling. I might not need their assistance, but I thank them for offering.
      Thanks for checking in…always good to hear from you!