1. Archive


Tuesday, I printed some of the reactions I received to a letter I got about a disabled person whose wheelchair overturned, and who was left lying on the sidewalk by passers-by. Today's responses are examples of how little it takes to help someone in distress. Read on:

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My aunt was driving her power scooter up the new access ramp at the local library when it suddenly flipped and landed on top of her. When she looked up, she found herself staring into the face of a smiling young man whose first words were, "What's wrong with this picture?" It turned out he was the engineer who had built all the walkways.

On her next visit to the library, the problem with the ramp had been corrected.

Grateful Niece in California

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Last fall, I fractured my ankle badly and was in a wheelchair for almost two months. I call it my character-building experience. I never realized how hard it is for the disabled to get things done. However, my experience with people was the complete opposite of "Horrified's."

People would dash in front of me to open doors. I can't count the number of times I heard, "Do you need my help?" from complete strangers. I always believed there were wonderful people in the world, and my experience confirmed it.

Glad I Live in the Midwest

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"Horrified's" letter reminded me of a quote that I came across years ago. It changed my way of thinking about life and has made me a braver person. It goes something like this: "I wondered why 'somebody' didn't do something. Then I realized, I was somebody."

Sometimes people are self-conscious about taking public action. They assume it will be taken care of by someone who is more experienced or assertive. Perhaps people need to be reminded that we are all "somebodies" with the power to help and make a difference, however small that action might seem.

Carol in Potsdam, N.Y.

Universal Press Syndicate