I went to a beachtown near London and walked ahead of my friends for some reason. I was waiting for them on top of a hill where the road bent. This very old man with a walking stick was standing a 2-3 meters ahead of me. I like my usual self stayed away from strangers so much so as to not even be near them so that they could talk to me. He called out to me and asked if I could help him sit at a bench which was about 5 meters away from him. He said he could walk but had a condition on his hip bone which made it difficult for him to sit. I walked with him to the bench and then he started instructing me on how to help him sit. He held my hand and then after he had managed to bend himself to a seating posture asked me to sit down so he could take my support like an armrest. At first he rested his hand on my shoulder and then as he moved lower he moved his hand to my knee and I could feel how much pain he would have been from the way he kept trying to control it by biting his lower lip and from the force he used on my knee and arm as he sat down. It took him 10 mins from standing to lowering himself to sitting down. We had onlookers who didn’t know how to help him.
I sat with him for 5 more minutes while I still waited for my friends to show up. He told me he was born with this condition and had had multiple surgeries. He also told me story of another lady who moved around in wheelchair, could never stand up because of broken hip, had had more than a 10 surgeries in her less than half a decade of life and was one of the most cheerful people he knew. Despite her so called disability, she would travel to this little beachtown quite often and did not restrict herself from enjoy all that she could. He asked me to learn to appreciate that I could still walk and do things as I wanted, live life as I wanted.
Through the conversation I had no words to ask or offer to him. I do appreciate my healthy life more than ever.