Naturally, living with a disability and being wheelchair bound causes people to stare at you from time to time. I have become used to this by now in my life. It does not affect me negatively anymore, unless I am extremely tired or grumpy. Other than those times, I could care less if someone stares at me. I actually find it quite entertaining because I continuously make the other person more uncomfortable than I am. This is always the case except if a little boy or girl is staring at me. Then I make an exception.
I actually enjoy when a “little one” suddenly recognizes that I am sitting and moving at the same time. Their reaction is usually priceless. It starts with a double take of what they are seeing. After the second look, their eyes start to widen, ever so slowly, getting bigger and bigger. (I sometimes am amazed at how big a “little ones” eyes can get). This is about the time that they slowly check all of me out. Slowly making their way from the wheelbase, up to the seat, past the armrest, and gradually seeing my face. Then…Bam! They see my eyes and realized that I am staring right back at them. More often than not, their reaction is to quickly look away and hide behind whatever parental figure is closest. But, sometimes there are the curious ones that embrace what they see and let their curiosity takeover. These are by far the best kind of children.
There is one little boy that sticks out in my mind, and will for the rest of my life. I was at a local pizzeria with a good friend of mine, sitting outside just enjoy the beautiful weather and the food. Halfway through our meal, one of us spotted a “little one” wearing a Luke Skywalker outfit. His mom and him had just finished lunch and were heading out the door. Suddenly, he spots me. I remember his reaction. A quick stare…but then a calm look of curiosity. He stopped walking with his mother and stood perfectly still. I looked back at him with a “hello”. But to do this, I had to turn my chair around and make sure I was facing him. As I turned, he stepped back and was amazed that my chair was moving without any type of body part controlling it.
Now, everyone knows that Luke Skywalker, like all Jedi’s, can control and move objects by using “The Force”. As this “little one” was pretending to be Skywalker, his first reaction was to hold out his arms, make his hands look like they were reaching and grabbing for something, and slowly try to move me. I noticed what he was doing right away. And I made it a point to play along.
Many people can figure out in a matter of seconds how I control my wheelchair. Obviously, with the joystick. But the great thing about this situation was that I had my hand on the joystick before he saw me place it there. And as being someone of his age and innocence, he had no idea how the wheelchair worked.
I slowly turned to the left as he manipulated me to do so. After this first additional “act of telekinesis”, his mouth dropped open and he quickly stared at his hands and fingers in disbelief. (It was literally something out of an action movie, where the hero first realizes he has superpowers).
I quickly whispered with disbelief and enthusiasm, “How did you move me?”
Without any hesitation, he began to use the force again. This time, the motion was in his whole body and his face looked just like a Jedi concentrating as hard as he could. I slowly move forwards, backwards, left, right, up and down. He started to make noises of the grunting variety. After a few minutes of using the force, he politely moved me back to my spot at the table. His mother began to clap as the boy ran back to her saying, “I really did it! I really did it!”
My friend waved goodbye and I said, “May ‘The Force’ be with you!”
Best little kid ever!