It was a hot, summer like early fall day, over a week ago, and I was out running on a Wednesday afternoon with my friends from our running club at work. Having done all my long runs on my own, I always look forward and enjoy the camaraderie and companionship that comes on these shorter runs. Sometimes we will have a conversation, sometimes I will run with someone, and not a word is spoken, yet there is still a closeness as if we are running as one. Sometimes one of us will drop behind, or sprint ahead to have their own space. No one questions it, it has always been that way, and at the end while we are stretching, we talk, we share, and we celebrate how each of us are improving.
So it was on this particular day, I was running quietly with 2 of my running partners, that I noticed a person a hundred meters further ahead of us on the Waterfront Trail in Barrie. The person was a lady on a mobility scooter, so I sprinted ahead and sidled up beside her, to ask how her day was, and to read some cues if she was interested in having someone to talk to as she drove along. She was EXTREMELY grateful to have this companionship.
And as we talked, when she mentioned she had drove her scooter for over an hour, in the heat, to get to a store which carried something she really needed, I asked her, “Do you have any water?” It turned out, she had a bottle, and drank it partway to her trip to this store. Then I asked, “Would you like me to fill your water bottle up?” The dear lady responded with a resounding “YES PLEASE!” We stopped at the fountain, where I learned that with the size of the scooter, and with the ladies’ disability, she cannot access the fountain (something we all take so much for granted). I gladly filled her water bottle, and she drank it all down right there. I filled it up the 2nd time for her remaining trip home.
We kept talking, and were unfortunately going up to the spot where we would be going our separate directions. I thanked the lady for the visit, and told her to “Please be careful” (she would be sharing the road with cars), and then started to sprint ahead to try and catch up with my running partners. Just got 3 or 4 strides in, when I heard the word “Sir”, I looked back and what I saw stopped me IMMEDIATELY in my tracks. She had her arms out to give me a hug. I RAN back to her, and as we embraced, I whispered through tears, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU SO MUCH.”
All of a sudden, catching up with my running partners was no longer important. And now I am thinking of all the “missed opportunities” I most likely have had, in my quest for longer endurance, and faster “Personal Best” times. Has it REALLY been that important?
For in giving a drink of cold water to this dear lady, she in turn gave SO MUCH MORE back to me.
Thanks for taking the time to read! 🙂