It was a stormy winter’s day in New York City when Mrs Spodek left the downtown Manhattan hospital with her wheelchair bound son in tow. The blistery wind swept across the face of the buildings sending drifts of snow into people’s path. The 20 feet from the building to the bus stop took almost every ounce of Mrs Spodek’s strength. Finally they reached the bus stop.
And they waited. A bus came by but it did not have the handicapped leaning capability, which makes it easier for wheelchairs to board and ride the buses. Despite the ravaging cold, Mrs Spodek decided to wait a little longer.
Finally ten minutes later another bus comes by and this bus as well, was not properly equipped with a lift for the wheelchair. Looking down and the ice forming a ledge on her son’s face, Mrs Spodek realized that her son could not wait any longer. It was simply too cold. The bus pulled up and Mrs Spodek reached down and began to lift up the wheelchair all by herself.
“Hey lady, ” called out the driver, “this bus does not have lift for that wheelchair. You are going to have to wait for the next bus”.
“Excuse me”, responded Mrs Spodek as she struggled under the weight of the wheelchair, anticipating the slippery sidewalk, “but if I wait any longer my son here is going to freeze. You have no choice but to take us on this bus”.
Two passengers jumped down to help mother and son makes it onto the bus. They awkwardly manoeuvred their way trying to keep the little boy as comfortable as is possible in the narrow walkway. Meanwhile, the bus driver continued grumbling and mumbling about “the nerve of that lady pushing her way onto the bus”.
As they settled into their seats, a voice could be heard from the back of the bus, “Hey lady, you should not worry one bit. Your son is not the one with the handicap. Your son is just fine if you ask me” came the loud baritone voice from the Yankee cap and shirt sitting in the back of the bus. “I will tell you who is handicapped lady, “continued the man pausing then for effect. Then in a booming voice that could have been heard half way across Manhattan he hit his final statement home, “It is the bus driver who has the handicap lady. His mind is handicapped”.
Tears rolled down Mrs Spodek’s frozen cheeks as she nodded her head in agreement.
Thirty minutes later when Mrs Spodek rang the bell to step off the bus, the driver pulled all the way over to the side of the road, unbuckled his seat belt and joined in helping mother and son disembark.
Just before the driver turned to go back to the bus he coughed and cleared his throat and said, “Sorry lady. I was wrong”.
Mrs Spodek responded with “Thank you for saying so”.
Then looking at the boy in the wheelchair, the big burly New York bus driver bent down and said, “You are lucky to have such a nice Mom”.
With a twinkle sparkling in the corner of his eye, the little Spodek looked back into the driver’s eyes and said, “We were lucky to have a nice driver”.
The driver turned to go back on the bus but not before the Spodek’s
heard him start to cry. “What a kid. What a kid”.