From the first moment I saw Annie at the gym, I was incensed. This gym has two stories, and the women’s locker room is on the second floor. No elevator, no little chair that rides up the banister. And here came this woman crawling up the stairs on her hands and knees, dragging a beat-up skateboard. When she got to the top, she plopped the skateboard down, knelt on it, and started buzzing around the second floor using her hands.
I thought she deserved an elevator. When I asked the sweet young boys at the front desk, their response was interesting. They said that she’d be insulted if the gym decided that she needed extra help.
So I kept my mouth shut and watched her. Over the next few months, I saw her propel herself into the cardio room, kneel on one of those glider things [not the elliptical] with handles, and start moving, using her hands as the main power. For at least 30 minutes.
And another time, we shared a lane in the pool. She swam faster and longer than I did, and I swam at least a half mile. With all that she faces, and all that she does, the least I could do was to not complain about doing bicep curls [which I didn’t like at that point because I was using the machines; now that I’ve switched to free weights I’m happier]. I pushed myself harder because of her.
I started asking around. Apparently, she had been in a car accident and has lost just about all use of her legs. There’s a little movement in the upper thigh, but that’s it. She can’t walk, but she parks her wheelchair under the stairs at the gym, and buzzes around under her own steam on that old skateboard.
Feel inspired now?