Friday, March 31, 2017

I had just entered the basement parking of a shopping complex when I saw a lady shopper approaching her car.
Her car was parked at a premier parking location - just in front of the entrance.
Secondary only to the disabled car parks.
My car was just in front of hers.
But my car position wasn't right and there was a car behind me so I couldn't reverse.
It's obvious that it's the car behind me who would be the lucky one.
I lamented at my loss.

I parked my car about 50 metres away.
As I was stepping into the entrance of the shopping complex, I saw a man with his grown son (I presume) on a wheel chair. They were the ones who got that lucky parking.
The father closed his car door and I realised that it must have taken him awhile to help his son alight from the car.

I'm glad I missed that parking.
I would not want to deprive this father-son of such convenient parking.
This is definitely one of those "Everything just falls into the right places" moment.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Taken from LifeBuzz
“I met my wife when I was seventeen. I didn’t want to tell her about my schizophrenia. At the time, she liked another guy who had no issues and I didn’t want to ruin my chances. I hid the disease for a long time after we married. I would always find explanations for my strange behavior. I’d make up stories to explain my violent outbursts at work. But it got to be too much. 
By the time I admitted my disease, it was too late. She got a restraining order a year ago. I had an outburst and I hit her. She has forgiven me for the sake of our children, but they don’t live with me anymore. 
I’m on five strong medications now. I still have some difficulty controlling the pace of my thoughts. Some thoughts will begin before others end. It’s like my mind is divided. It can be tough to keep both feet in reality. But I don’t want any more problems. 
I’ve detached myself from everyone. I don’t speak at work. I spend my time alone. It’s my only way to live a normal life.” 

(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) from Humans of New York
By Jerry Carino
NEPTUNE, N.J. - The gentleman was a regular customer at The Home Depot, but he could not find the right washer among a sea of them in the hardware department.
Sales associate Kevin Woolley came over and solved the problem in five seconds.

“No. 10, right there,” Woolley said, pointing to the elusive piece.
“That’s why I look for him,” the customer said, gesturing to Woolley. “I would have been here an hour trying to find this thing.”
It’s an ordinary day on the job for Woolley, a 40-year-old from Belmar who has been with The Home Depot for 20 years, the past 10 in the Neptune store. The only extraordinary thing is Woolley himself. He has cerebral palsy, which gives him a severe limp, slurred speech and difficulty gripping things.

It has done nothing to dampen the spirit of the store’s most beloved employee -- and one of its most valuable people.
“When we don’t know something a customer asks about, we go to Kevin,” said fellow sales associate Caridad Gonzalez, who has been on the job for six months. “He knows it all.”
Woolley trained Gonzalez and many others who don The Home Depot’s trademark orange apron. They are in awe of his encyclopedic knowledge and his interactions with others.

“He’s extremely impressive,” Gonzalez said. “He’s awesome with customers. They love him. Every other customer who comes in here shakes hands with him.”
As they should. Kevin Woolley is a walking, talking reminder that life deals us the cards but we choose how to play them. A brief encounter with him offers a major dose of perspective.

Woolley’s cerebral palsy was caused by a distressed birth. He was delivered via C-section after suffering a lack of oxygen to his brain. His fine motor skills were permanently diminished.
“It’s difficult for him to pick up an ice cream cone or a piece of pizza,” his father, Henry Woolley, said. “But whenever I’m assembling something like a barbecue grill, which I’m not great at, he’ll say, ‘Do this dad, do that.’ He can see it; he just can’t perform the function.”

There is plenty he can do, like drive a car and send a text message. He’s a good listener and quick-witted. He grew up in Belmar and still lives there with his parents, and when I tell him I used to spend summers in the borough’s old party zone along 16th Avenue, he replies, “Sorry to hear that,” like only a wry local could.

Kevin attended the local public schools, and at Manasquan High he became a manager on the powerhouse football team under the late coach Vic Kubu. He also ran track.
“He would run the dash and come in last, but he tried,” Henry Woolley said. “I always told him, it doesn’t matter. Give it a try.”

In 1996 Kevin moved to Colorado to live with his older brother Chris. His career at The Home Depot began there. He’s worked in virtually every department over the years, doing whatever is needed, although he’d rather not climb ladders.

“I could work anywhere they want to put me,” he said. “I know what I can and can’t do, and they know what I can and can’t do.”

When Phil Kramer was about to become the Neptune store’s manager last year, transferring from a North Jersey outlet, he took a reconnaissance tour of the place with his wife one weekend afternoon. No one knew who they were.
“Kevin was the only person who acknowledged me,” Kramer said. “He was the only one who said, ‘Hi, how are you doing? What can I help you with?’”

It didn’t take long for the new boss to realize, “This guy lives and breathes what we’re trying to do every day.”
Loyal customers have known that for many years. Within five minutes on Tuesday afternoon, one asked him for white siding nails and another sought his opinion on the right blade for a planer.

“He has a good heart, and I’ll tell you this: Wherever I go with him, somebody will say, ‘Hi Kev, how are you doing?” Henry Woolley said. “I’ll say to him, ‘Who is this person?’”
Chances are they shop at The Home Depot.
“We were at the hospital for an X-ray (recently),” his dad said, “and we’re walking down the hall when a patient comes out of his room and says, ‘Hey, it’s Kevin from Home Depot!’”

He’s at the store five days a week, putting in 40 hours. That’s a lot of time on his feet for someone who walks with difficulty.
“It’s a hard job for him there, but Kevin gets through it,” Henry Woolley said. “We never mention ‘handicap’ to him. He knows he’s handicapped but he never mentions it. He does OK.”

You go to The Home Depot for drill bits, not inspiration. In the hardware aisles of the Neptune store, Kevin Woolley will help you find both.