She was seated in the bulk head row aisle seat by the time we reached it. Ours were window and middle. Reaching down she moved her legs back and said, “I’d stand. . .but I can’t.”
|New York New York and Excalibur Casinos - Las Vegas|
Plenty of room to get in, we assured her, as we stepped over and around and settled in. We often sit in the bit-more-spacious row with seats designated for ‘handicapped’ (and secondarily, frequent fliers) but this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to chat with a person who needed the seat for its real purpose. ( I can assure you while this lady may have been ‘differently-abled’ she was by no means ‘handicapped’ in mind or spirit.)
The flight attendant stood next to Seat 6D as she demonstrated the safety procedures and escape routes.
As she pointed to the track lighting that would lead us to an emergency exit, I started pondering how the lady next to me would ever get to an emergency exit.
Then a more disturbing question surfaced:
(Would we step over her to save ourselves or would we take her under our care? Hmm. . .now that is one about which one must do some soul-searching. . .)
She and I began the usual in-air visiting when she complimented my sandals,
“Oh they are Clark’s Bendables and they weigh almost nothing,” I said taking one off, handing it to her, “They are great . . .(for walking.)” I’d almost foolishly added.
As our conversation continued she told me she’d contracted polio 35 years ago – from the vaccine intended to keep her from getting the crippling disease. But she didn’t dwell on that, instead we talked travel:
She loved Istanbul and her travels in Turkey. The people there were so kind, she said.
|Street scene - Kotor, Montenegro|
“Cruises are getting better now – in the sense of accessibility – they used to have handicapped rooms that had a lip on the bathroom doorway entrance making it difficult to navigate in a wheelchair – they’ve remedied that now.”
|Our room - Scottsdale Four Seasons - I'd not considered the bed's height before|
|Cappuccino - Papeete, Tahiti|
Later, she told me the first thing she planned to do upon reaching her hotel was to order a huge cup of coffee.
“ I love my coffee but it goes right through me, though, so I don’t dare order it on a plane,” she explained.
As the plane arrived at the gate, she reached down and pulled her legs back and said, “You climb out over me. I’ll be the last one off.”
I never asked her name, but that really doesn’t matter because I’ll never take another trip without thinking of the Lady in Seat 6D.
When I complain of having walked too much or why we didn’t get that second cup of coffee or when I think the mattress is too hard – I will remember and then be thankful for that brief time I spent with the Lady in Seat 6D and oh, so grateful, that The Scout and I are able to travel as we do.
That’s it for Travel Photo Thursday, head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos and armchair travel.