Karma Of Mobility

When I was nine, we were poor. My father had skipped town, my mother was working part time as a schoolbus driver, supporting my brother and me in a tiny duplex on the bad side of town, never having enough of anything – money, education, self-confidence. Yet, what my mother did have was a sense of empathy for others, understanding that the best effort that she could make was toward helping those more in need than us, where, as she often explained, unconditional good deeds would likely come back upon us in meaningful ways if we were ever in dire straights.

And, time and time again, her belief in helping others proved reciprocating, where she often gave our last dollar to someone who needed a hot meal more than we did, and then when our lives were at a breaking point – our car broken down on the side of the road, or an eviction notice stapled to our door – good karma enacted, with another empathetic person stepping in to help us, where an inexplicable chain of events led a kind-hearted mechanic to the car or a resourceful social worker to the door. It seemed that my mother, through generating good karma, had a surefire system of always getting by – by simply helping others. “Things always just work out,” my mother said. “Do the right things for others, and things will eventually come your way, too.”

As an adult, for better or worse, I’m not as secure running solely on faith as my mother was, understanding that education, meaningful career paths, and financial responsibility are surer ways toward everyday security than living on the edge, trusting that between the door and the street, good karma will rescue you. Yet, in the mobility world, my mother’s belief of generating good karma by helping others always proves true, where I’ve witnessed that users who put others’ mobility needs in front of their own always come out with enhanced mobility.

Most recently, I was at a user’s house, setting him up with some wheelchair technology that I thought might enhance his mobility, and I realized that I didn’t see any other wheelchair in his house besides the wheelchair he used. The absence of multiple wheelchairs struck me as odd because usually upon visiting one’s home, I see an array of wheelchairs, at least an old manual chair tucked in a corner for when one’s regular wheelchair needs servicing. But, in this gentleman’s case, I didn’t see an extra wheelchair anywhere.

“Do you have a back-up chair?” I asked, thinking that he would say it was hidden away in the garage or a closet.

“No, I don’t,” he said. “I had one, but I know this guy who’s a double amputee, and his insurance wouldn’t cover a chair, so I figured he needed my old one more than I did, so I gave it to him.”

“How long ago was that?” I asked.

“About two months ago,” he said.

And, it all then made perfect sense to me – that is, he unconditionally gave his back-up wheelchair to someone who truly needed it, and the good deed was then coming back to him in the form of additional mobility technology. The karma of mobility was on his side.

I hear and witness the karma of mobility everyday, where users who help ultimately receive sustained mobility, themselves. Is the karma of mobility an intangible, entirely anecdotal, impossible for anyone to prove – entirely idealistic?

Sure it is. But, I have never seen the karma of mobility fail in practice.


Author: Mark E. Smith

The literary side of the WheelchairJunkie

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