On Tuesday morning I volunteered to pick up my friend from the hospital after a minor procedure, my buddy in tow. The nurse told me where to pull up the car, and to wait there for my friend to come out.
Simple enough. Except the hospital parking lot was a major cluster, and we were ready for lunch. As I pulled up to the circular entrance I could feel myself get irritated. I couldn’t pull right up front because this big white truck was parked smack dab in the middle of the driveway. There was no way around him so I pulled off to the side. Who does this guy think he is? These big trucks always drive around like they own the road. “Pull up your truck Pops!” Cara shouted from the back seat.
Oops, I knew where she got that.
I assured her that we were fine, and that it was not a problem for us to wait. I stayed calm. While we continued to wait I got boxed in. Behind me was a taxi. A passenger was wheeled out and deposited into the back of the cab. Hmmm. I certainly hope that I would never have to get a cab home from the hospital. I’m never going to let one of my friends get a cab home from the hospital. I started to feel better about showing up for my friend.
A few minutes later a woman in a wheelchair was wheeled up to the passenger side of the truck in front of me. The woman looked old and frail. A similar man got out of the driver’s side and walked around the truck to her. His movements were slow and deliberate. I sighed under my breath and calculated how long this was going to take for this lady to get in her seat and move out of my way.
She didn’t move.
The man opened the passenger door and fumbled around until he pulled out a cord with a switch on the end. Just as slowly, the passenger chair of the pick up truck lowered out of the truck and toward the ground. This was no ordinary truck. He customized it for her.
Now that the chair was down; I expected her to rise and get on it. Instead the man went to the back of the truck and lowered the gate. Carefully, the man lifted himself into the truck bed. Then I noticed a piece of wood in the back. He lifted it up, slid himself out of the truck bed and carried the wood around to where the woman waited. He set it on the ground next to the passenger seat. It was a step, but it was not for her. Then he lifted his woman underneath her arms, turned and stepped up on the wood, and placed her in the passenger seat. I grabbed my phone.
He checked with her. He spoke to her and smoothed her hair.
I felt embarrassed that I witnessed this moment of tenderness. It was almost too intimate to be public.
We were easily 5 minutes into this ordeal, and I momentarily forgot about my friend, or the line of cars behind me.
My friend got into my passenger seat while I snapped pictures with my iPhone. She looked at my camera, then looked at my face and her brow rose in question. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“I’m watching this man. I’m watching him pick-up his wife. You should have seen it.”
I couldn’t explain it, but I know what I saw.