Some years ago, I sustained an injury that required walking temporarily with a cane for balance and support. With my usual impeccable sense of timing, I was booked on a cruise that would be sailing during this recovery period.
I had two obvious choices – cancel or proceed with cane. The family (and the doctor) felt a cruise was leisurely enough for me to manage, provided I was careful during embarking and disembarking. So off we went.
My movements were slower than I would have liked and stairs were unfriendly obstacle courses, but the relaxed atmosphere made mobility less of an issue than I had feared. Until the buffet line.
I don’t remember how I ended up separated from the family but there I stood before the row of serving dishes, wondering how I would hold onto my cane, my plate and dish my food.
“Did you want the chicken or the beef?”
Young Lady Passenger spoke from behind me, smiling cheerfully. “Chicken? If you pass me your plate, I’ll get it for you.”
I remember staring at her, startled into silence. She must have thought I was really, really slow. Which I was, obviously, in more ways than one.
“What else, Auntie? You want veggies? Pasta?”
I protested that I could manage and that she should get her own food but, nope. She heaped my plate, and then left the line to carry the plate all the way to my seat.
I have never forgotten that act of kindness and unselfishness. If you happen to be reading this, know that I remain extremely humbled and grateful. Thank you.