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Good Deeds

gooddeedI am disabled (somewhat) with fairly advanced peripheral neuropathy (PN). My leg muscles, hands and arms are dysfunctional for full and proper sensory input, output and muscle control. I can walk for medium-short distances but I must have a cane to stand in one place. I work hard with my fine motor skills in my hands to keep them working.

I have had handicap parking mirror hangers for about eight years. I really do need them and am thankful for the privilege of close parking. My present permit cards expire this month, so I had to get them renewed, one for my car and one in Gloria’s car. (She doesn’t use it for herself.)

Gloria dropped me off at the county clerk’s office where I go to get the renewal done. She ran off to do some banking while I was inside. What I didn’t realize, it is the end of the month (12/29) and end of the year for other citizens to get their property taxes paid.

I was able to walk to the elevator and after I got off the elevator walk into the clerk’s office on the second floor. That’s when I saw the huge line I would have to stand in. At least 150 people in line. I took my place at the end of the line. It was arranged in a 4 layer zigzag formation across the front of the clerk’s windows.

I was in line for about 10 minutes, heavily relying on my cane to keep myself steady. There was nothing to lean against. I had moved up about a yard or two to where a rather large, let me say, portly older woman (who was at least my age) was sitting in a chair next to the outside window. I smiled and acknowledged she was there. We were close enough to talk to each other. She saw my problem standing, so she got up to talk to me and asked if I wanted to sit down in the chair next to her. There was a small (but quite healthy) boy there.

I made an excuse, “No… no, I would be OK.” and I tried to be humorous by adding, “…at least until I fall down, heh, heh.” Then she said she had someone holding her place in line way up ahead and she was sure the lady behind me would be glad to hold my place for me.

I tried to excuse myself again that, “No that wasn’t necessary…” but she insisted. She then point blank asked the woman behind me if she would hold my place. The woman in line seemed to have little choice but to not be negative and said, “of course I will.” Well, I had no excuse then…

The young boy in the chair, sometime during the conversations had disappeared, so the seats were now empty. Maybe he was an illusion? I graciously accepted one seat and thanked both women for the opportunity to avoid standing for the entire time. It would have been at least an hours’ wait in line.

I chit-chatted a bit with the woman next to me about how crowded it was and how everyone was pressed to pay their tax bill before the end of the year. I could see that was what most folks were holding. I was holding two blue plastic mirror hangers to trade for new.

My nice lady eventually saw her place was getting close to the head of the line so she got up and struggled a bit to get through the zigzag waiting line lane barriers to her place. One person opened the barrier tape at a stanchion post to let her get through. I noticed she was having as much trouble walking as me.

I looked for the woman holding my place and she was about to make the first turn in the zigzag, far behind where my new friend got in line. She waved when she saw me looking so I knew my spot was still good.

I lost track of my two lady friends for awhile. The line was growing even longer and was trailing down the hallway. An announcement was made that anyone who had a printed address check and a filled out form, did not have to wait in line if they wanted to drop the payment in a sealed envelope into a bin next to the door. The office would then mail the receipts out to them. No one took the option. I think they really didn’t comprehend what had just been announced. It didn’t provide help to me as I wasn’t there to pay taxes.

But I then noticed my lady friend had made it to the first service window at the far left, about ten yards away of where I was still seated.

I occasionally checked her progress, and soon noticed she was in animated conversation with the clerk (behind the glass window) and pointing toward me. I immediately had a suspicion.

My friend saw I was looking and motioned for me to come join her. My suspicion was confirmed. So I walked all the way towards the door to avoid the line barriers and came back to where she was standing at the window. She told me she had arranged for the clerk to take care of me next.

I again thanked her profusely and then began to talk to the clerk. I don’t know what my lady friend had told her, but the clerk first began to apologize all over the place for me having to wait so long. She was so sorry… I was like, “Whaaa…?” but I figured I had better play along. I gave her my blue handicap placards and said I needed to get them renewed. I had to fill in a short form and the clerk told me to sit down again and she would handle everything and bring it out to me. (Whaaa…?!)

My benefactor lady had disappeared by now so I had no one to ask about who or what I had become in the mind of the clerk. What story had been told? I was feeling like my lady friend was some kind of guardian angel (in those Christmas movies) who had suddenly appeared from nowhere to look after me to make the process painless.

I found a chair by the door and began talking to the new people who were coming in and who were startled by now the double length of the line I had been in. It was time for me to “pass it back”. I began telling them all about the announcement I had heard earlier. That if they had a printed address check and the paperwork was complete, they didn’t have to stand in line. Just seal the envelope and put it in the box near the door. They may have thought I was a bit crazy. Some old guy with a cane telling them they didn’t have to stand in line.

I decided I had a reason to pick up my placards at the window. So when I saw the clerk getting ready to deliver them, I went over to the window. After I received my cards, I asked the clerk to have the announcement I heard a half hour earlier about the drop box, rebroadcast. I said there were a lot of new people in line who didn’t know of the shortcut and use of the drop box.

Next I found the other good lady still holding my place, thanked her again, and I am sure I left her wondering how I was already finished and about to leave. I am not even sure myself what had just happened.

As I moved toward the door to leave, I stopped to chat with one man I had convinced to finish his paperwork to avoid the line. He was looking for the box. Then I heard the announcement I requested being made. Suddenly, I was about run over by a half dozen people who left the line and were coming towards me, also looking for the drop box.

I left pleased I had a chance to do my good deed and “pass it back”. It’s great to be alive and share good deeds!

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