It was Spence who first brought him to my attention, less than a mile from my home, as you round the bend coming into our little downtown. Spence honked and waved.
“Who are you waving at?” I asked.
“My buddy” he answered. But we’d already driven past.
I started paying attention. A young man with Down’s Syndrome, in his twenties if I had to guess, sitting in front of his house and waving to passing drivers. I started waving back whenever I saw him. Always cheerful, consistently enthusiastic, he brightens my day as I imagine he does for others. He’s like our small town’s ambassador. In the bitter cold of winter, his time outside was curtailed but I’d still look.
Just a few days ago, Spence and I were driving into town.
“Oh no” he remarked “He’s in a wheelchair”. Not knowing the nature of his health, we both feared what that meant.
Quite by chance, I saw a post on Facebook a few hours later. It introduced Dustin and talked of his joy in waving to friends, how he loved making people happy. Dustin recently had surgery that confined him to a wheelchair during a three month recovery. And until recently, kept him housebound. That is when some good citizens came forward and built a ramp for him. Just heard there was a need and stepped up in a single weekend to return a kindness. Dustin had impacted them with his unbridled friendliness and in turn, made new friends.
Happy to know that the wheelchair is only temporary we now had a name and a glimpse into this endearing young man’s life.
A smile and a wave can make a difference.
Writing 101 assignment for today was to share a character study of someone we’d met who’d impacted our lives within the last year.