Better Late Than Never

  I want to share an experience I had last week meeting a man who has quite a story to tell. I drive a cab for a living. I have been doing it for almost 2 years. I enjoy it very much and meet some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met in my life.

This particular man was quite inspirational. At first glance he didn’t seem like much. I called him five minutes before his pick up time to let him know I would be there and he gave me directions to his apartment. When I got there he came out and sit down in a notebook and a soda on the ground. I noticed that he was well dressed but was missing his right arm.  I try not to ask about such things with my passengers but most of them seem to feel like they can trust me with any information most of the time.  As we begin our 20 minute journey to his doctors office, he proceeded to tell me about his story.

About nine years ago he was just a regular, average, healthy guy. He actually owned his own construction business and has worked all over. One day, while at work, he scratched his arm on a screw. Unknown to him, he contracted streptococcus.  Three days later, where he had gotten scratched, there was a bump on his arm the size of a softball that was warm to the touch and was leaking pus. It was very infected. When he went to the emergency room to be seen they put him on an ambulance and immediately transported him to a hospital in downtown Phoenix.  That was the end of his old life and the beginning of his new and painful one. The virus eat away at his body. The doctors had to remove his right arm and most of one of his legs trying to get rid of the infection.  He had severe issues with his neck and became paralyzed. The doctors told him he would never recover, let alone walk again.  They gave him a titanium neck in hopes it would help him. When they told him he would never walk again, he refused to believe it. He actually told the doctor that he would walk into his office in six months for his wellness check appointment.  The doctor simply told him that he liked his attitude and wished him luck. Six months later this man rolled his wheelchair to the front door of the doctors office then stood up and walked in to talk with the doctor face-to-face.  The doctor couldn’t believe it.

For years he described how he had battled different obstacles and health issues but had decided he would never give up.  He told me how healing and living and how much we heal and how much of a quality lifestyle we live is completely in our own minds and is up to us.  He said he knew he was lucky and blessed to even be alive.  He stated that it could’ve been a lot worse, and that knowing this made him more grateful for his current circumstances even though they were far from perfect.  Here was a man who had every right and reason to be angry at the universe or God at whatever or just angry in general.  He chose to except things the way they are and to let go of anger and resentment and simply focus on living the best life that he could now with his current circumstances. He said that he had never been happier.

How many of us feel sorry for ourselves but have all four limbs and are in pretty good health?  It is so easy to start feeling sorry for ourselves and our current circumstances when in reality we actually have it quite good compared to so many people in this world. It could ALWAYS be worse.

This man chose to focus on what he could be grateful for in his life instead of focusing on how unlucky or cursed he had been.  His main focus now, and every day, is on how to build the best life he can from here on out, and letting the past go.

I meet people like this almost every day while at work. I always come away from each experience feeling grateful for who I am and what I have. Talking with others and hearing their stories inspires me and helps me to remember just how good of a life I really do have.

Years ago my doctors told me that I would never work again and that I needed to go on disability. My back was in pretty bad shape, and I couldn’t sit or stand for very long periods of time. I have three sons so going on disability wasn’t really an option. I had to do something. I started driving Cab once or twice a week and would recuperate and heal the rest of the time.  Eventually my back became stronger and because of someone I took in my cab one day, and a few things they had to say, I decided to cut sugars and carbs out of my diet as much as possible. I actually lost about 60 pounds in three months, and my back became well enough to work more.  I’m grateful for my job not just because it helps me to pay my bills and take care of my three sons, but because I really do enjoy it and I enjoy speaking with and being inspired by so many people.


One Reply to “Better Late Than Never”

  1. I really enjoy these short, profound stories. You send a very good message: Don’t give up on yourself because no one else is going to save you. Be strong for yourself.

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