She is maneuvering her scooter wheelchair up the ramp into the Mac’s store where I am headed to buy cough drops. I call out to her that I will open the door, slip around her scooter and hold it open. She nods her head, grunts a muffled ‘thank you’ (I think) and moves away.
Inside the store, she struggles to move her scooter through the aisles to the cooler section. I watch and ask if I can help.
“I just want a Coke,” she says and I open the fridge door, grab one down and pass it to her. Again, she nods her head, mumbles and moves away.
At the checkout I step back to make room for her to get into the line. This time, she acknowledges my presence. She smiles at me, comments on the heat and how difficult it is to get around for her as she’s just got the scooter. “Cities aren’t really designed for people like me,” she says.
“It must be very challenging,” I comment and she tells me more about her difficulties.
I notice two puppies in a cloth animal carry bag at her feet and she tells me their names. “Buddy” and “Friend”. We chat about her dogs. I tell her how I like their names. “It must be nice to know you always have a buddy and a friend around,” I quip.
She laughs. “Yeah. Except, this Buddy, he can be a real little dickens. Always trying to run off. He’s so nosy. He wants to know what’s going on everywhere!”
And then it’s her turn and the sales clerk greets her and I know she comes here often because he reaches over towards the lottery machine and asks, “Quick Pick?
She laughs. “Not this time. Just the Coke.” And I wonder if, as happens to many, the month has too many days for her assistance cheque.
She holds the coke out towards the clerk but the counter is too far up for her to reach from a sitting position. She’s told me she can walk, but it’s uncomfortable in the heat and I offer to pass the Coke to the clerk and she is grateful. She hands me the bottle and her Toonie (a $2 coin) and I pass both to the clerk. He scans the coke, counts out her change. I pass both back to the woman.
“I’m the intermediary!” I say.
And we all three share a moment connected through laughter.
I pay for my cough drops. The clerk says, “Thanks for all your help.”
The woman is moving towards the exit door and a man in line races over to open it for her. He smiles, she smiles, and I smile as I walk out behind her through the open door the man is holding open for me too.
“Thank you,” I smile.
“Have a great day,” he says. “Oh, and thank you for being so happy this morning too. You brightened my day.”
“You brightened my day too.” I tell him. “I love open doors!”
And we part to go our separate ways and I know the day has been made different because of those small connections made through our human connection on a hot sunny morning in July.