March 23, 2014 – I am on an airplane from Bogota, Colombia to Houston, Texas.
I often visit the Deseret Industries in search of wheelchairs. Many weeks ago I found a special needs wheelchair. It had a headrest, body harness, side supports for the body and an eating tray. It was small. I immediately thought about some small child in Mexico or another country that could use it.
For years Charity Anywhere Foundation works with a Catholic priest who works with severally handicapped children. He would for sure have a home for this wheelchair. I bought the chair for Padre Jaime’s program in Tijuana, Mexico.
I recently had reason to fly to San Diego and then drive into Tijuana where Padre Jaime has his program. Airlines will fly wheelchairs for free. My ticket to fly down to San Diego was a standby ticket with United Airlines. As I checked the wheelchair in, the airline clerk said the wheelchair was also on standby so if I didn’t make the flight the wheelchair would not make it also. Sure enough, I didn’t make the flight on United but booked a ticket with Southwest. The special needs chair did not make the flight.
When I arrived in Tijuana, I drove to Padre Jaime’s program to deliver other items I had for him. I looked around the room and saw a few wheelchairs not being used. Even a special needs chair. I was so relieved.
Upon returning home from Mexico the special needs chair was at our warehouse waiting for a home. Shortly after returning I was scheduled to fly to Ecuador on another expedition so I took the special needs chair with me on the airplane. Yes, for free.
Our first place in Ecuador where we setup our medical, dental and vision clinic was in a Christian Chapel. Our U.S. volunteers had brought 8 wheelchairs. We contacted the local evangelist of the church and showed him this special needs wheelchair and we felt he might know where it could be used. Within one hour a family arrived carrying this 11 year old girl with serious handicap problems. She was very small and fit well into the chair. We adjusted the headrest, put the harness on, adjusted the footrests at the right height, put the tray table on so her arms could rest, and adjusted the body side supports. A perfect fit.
She was thrilled. The family rolled her around the chapel at ease. They would no longer have to carry her. She would now be more mobile. What a thrill to all, that this special needs chair had found the right home. God’s hand was involved.