Son Talks To Wheelchair Bound Man On Street Only Interaction Takes A Turn Leaving Dad With Guilt
Kristin Danley 6/16/2018
Not everyone has a wide-eyed, childlike and innocent outlook toward others who are different. Sadly, bullying stems from mean, rude people honing in on those differences and it's all too prevalent today.
Blanton O'Neal and his son Sean were in North Carolina for his son's soccer tournament when they stopped at a small gas station to grab a drink near the North and South Carolina border. Blanton paid for the drinks and sent Sean to the car with his keys.
As he left the gas station and glanced out toward the parking lot at his car, he noticed Sean's car door was left wide open. He was walking toward a man in a wheelchair and dread instantly filled Blanton.
The wheelchair-bound man had amputated legs and appeared to be what Blanton described as homeless. The dad's first response upon seeing Sean walking toward the stranger embarrassed him, he later admitted.
"My first reaction, sadly, was 'Oh crap! He is hitting Sean up for money and has called him over.' But as I walked closer, Sean had clearly had a short conversation with the man, turned around and headed back to the car. So I did the same."
As Blanton climbed into the car, he nonchalantly asked Sean what had happened between him and the stranger. His son's response warmed his heart.
“Nothing Dad. I just was asking if he needed help. He said no thanks, that he was fine but thanked me for asking."
Blanton admitted that he hadn't paid any attention to the fact that the man in the wheelchair was attempting to navigate a gravel parking lot that was full of potholes, propelling himself forward with only his hands. He also didn't notice that his son had spied this man's plight and did something so shocking that Blanton had to share it on social media.
"I didn’t notice that my 11-year-old child was man enough to see this in the mirror of my car, drop his electronics he was playing, get out and offer to help the guy ... I debated making a post of this as it paints a not so flattering picture of me as a person. But I think in the end, it is a picture of many of us if we are truly honest with ourselves."
As they were driving off, Sean asked if they could offer the man some money. As Blanton pulled up alongside the man, he asked if he could use some cash.
The stranger's response was heartwarming...
"He said, 'No thank you, I’m fine. Your son was a real gentleman and gave me all I needed today. God Bless.'"
As they pulled away, Sean turned and waved at the man, who waved back with a huge smile plastered on his face. Blanton took a minute and questioned himself: "Would I have gotten out of the car and done the same?"
"I don’t post this looking for any praise for Sean. I post this to expose a real nastiness we have in our world. We spew such bile and hatred on every news channel, every Facebook post, every tweet. It’s not a right or left thing. We all do it. We have forgotten to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Many people have told us over the years how big-hearted Sean is. While he can be bigger than life in many social settings, choosing to be the jokester, his small acts of kindness fly under the radar, as they should. Sean wasn’t looking for praise for what he did. He didn’t even know I would see it. He just saw a man that he thought needed help."
Blanton encouraged others to take a moment out of their day and make a person smile, do something to make a person pause and think, "Hey, that was nice." Then, there could be real change in this world, he noted, a positive energy that would resonate everywhere.
Kindness can catch on, but it takes more people like Sean to start the spark of compassion that can spread around the world. Be a part of that initiative and make someone's day today.