Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Scooter That Love Bought

Last month I presented at a youth leadership conference.  It has been a long time since I have presented to young people, who have hope, ambition and dreams for the future.
I sort of had to sand the edges of my recent presentations since I have mostly been presenting to providers, or older students who are pretty aware of how broken our system is, in all the ways.

In this presentation, I spoke about the importance of asking for help, and identifying the supports you need to be successful.  It was also around this time, I remembered one thing I am really bad at:  asking for help.   Over the years, and through my own transitions, going to college, living in Boston, moving to Denver,  it seems I have waited until the last minute to speak up and say I can’t do it on my own.  Or it is when my body simply shuts down to say “Yea, this is too much, you need to bring in some back up."

When I returned from this conference full of energized youth, it was becoming clear that my Scooter (who we all know fondly as Barbie) was not doing well.  She could not go a block without her battery dipping frighteningly low, and she was making sounds that I just knew were not good.  I had bought a new charger, hoping that would buy me some time, but I knew she was at the end of her scooter life.

I had a technician come out and evaluate the situation.  Her prognosis was not good.  They don’t sell just a motor, and for what it would have cost me to have her repaired, would be more than a new scooter.  Barbie had taken her last scooter breath.  All in all, she served me well.  For the amount that I use her, it really was amazing that she lasted as long as she did.  The model of scooter I typically get, for portability and for my size, is really not meant for daily commuting and city adventures in all seasons.  I always tell people, “She was meant for malls and airports.”

So here I was, without a scooter.  While I like to tell myself that having a scooter makes my life easier, the reality is, I need it.  The weeks without one were a strong reminder of this.  After a few days of just walking within our one block radius, my whole body was in pain. 

It was also a reminder that there are times where you simply NEED to ask for help. 

My colleagues at work were absolutely amazing, and I did not have to Uber the two blocks to work the entire time I was scooterless.

When I found out I needed a new scooter, my heart sank.  I knew that was probably going to be the case, but it wasn’t something I was prepared for.  We are trying to save for our wedding, and I am just beginning to make a dent in some of my ever lingering medical and student debt.  This was not good news.   Not knowing how long it would take me to save for a new scooter, and needing to get back to my regular work schedule, I decided to take another leap of faith and ask for help.

When I was much younger, I witnessed the magic that can happen when a community comes together to help someone in a time of need.  While times have changed, and the form in which community fundraisers occur has changed, I figured I would put it out to the universe.

I created a Go Fund Me page, and explained the importance of getting a new scooter.  How she helps me get safely to work every day, and gives me the independence I need to be active in the amazing city we live in.  Without a scooter, I am limited in both my social, and professional life.

Let it be known, I felt a little weird doing this.  I felt like I should be able to buy a new scooter.  That if I made the choice to pay out of pocket, I should always be able to do so.  I should simply forego our plans of having a wedding, and address our immediate needs, that we unfortunately have to deal with, when others our age may not have to.  But I did it.

And there are NOT words, for what I felt when in just over 24 hours I had raised enough for a NEW SCOOTER!  Friends, family, people I didn’t even know, donated all amounts so that I could get my independence back.  People donated in honor of people they had lost, people left notes of encouragement that they wanted to see me back in action.

I fought back tears at work, as I got notified of donations of $100, $300…. People who had needs and families of their own.  I still can’t believe it.

Today I took the new scooter on her maiden voyage to spend time with my best friend!  Having the freedom to be able to come, and go, and just get a cup of coffee brought me so much joy after two weeks of feeling stuck within the small area my little legs could take me!

Thanks to the gratitude of everyone who pitched in, I was even able to get a new model that might last me a little longer and be a little safer than the model that Barbie was! 

I am so excited for new adventures, and I promise I will name her soon, but in the meantime, please accept this as a HUGE universal thank you.  As the state of our country feels bleak, and hopeless, I have been reminded there IS good in the world, and LOVE CAN WIN.