Giving Thanks for the Kindness of Strangers
We spent the Thanksgiving weekend in TN. I heard a while back that this would be the last year the Rockettes would be performing in Nashville and planned to take Jian to see them. We ordered the tickets ahead of time along with tickets to do a carriage ride around the Opryland Hotel to see the Christmas lights. My sister and her family went with us. A few hours before we were going to leave, a commercial came on TV about the events. When they showed the Rockettes, Jian made a negative comment about how they needed to put on more clothes. Then they showed a huge ice slide, and she jumped up and shouted, “COOL!” Hmmm…maybe I should check into the ice slide.
After a little bit of research, we figured out that Jian and her cousin could ride the slide 10 times for $16 each so we left early to go do that. The girls were so excited. Then I read the fine print which said that this activity is not intended for anyone with a mental or physical disability. I quietly mentioned this to my sister, and we decided that there was no reason why Jian wouldn’t be able to do it. So we got there and stood in line. Again, as we got closer, they had a sign that said the same thing. Jian started getting nervous saying she didn’t want to walk in front of everyone with her crutches. I calmed her down and told her she could do it. We made a game plan. She would walk with her crutches down the pathway then hand them off to us. She would hold the handrail like always to go up the big staircase while her cousin carried her raft to slide down on. No big deal.
The lady let her through the line. She walked down the path and got to the stairs. So far so good. She walked up about 4-5 stairs. Then she froze. And the line began to back up. The lady noticed and went running up to her. My heart stopped. She’s going to make her come down. Then the lady picked up Jian and carried her to the top of the stairs and slid down beside her! My sister and I just stood there crying. What a relief. After that, it was smooth sailing. They finished doing their slides, enjoyed the show, and roasted some marshmallows on the way over to the carriage ride. Jian led the rest of us the entire night, walking miles all over Opryland.
When it was time to go back to the car, it was very far away, we were tired, it was dark, and my sister’s feet hurt from the boots she was wearing. A guy in a golf cart saw Jian and asked if we needed a ride. We were laughing because she was walking better than any of the rest of us! He drove us full speed on that golf cart with Jian’s hair blowing in the cold wind, and she was yelling with delight and pretending she was on the movie Frozen. I will continue to remember the kindness of those strangers in my prayers. They have no idea how they touched my heart this Thanksgiving weekend. And the best part of the night according to Jian? You guessed it–the golf cart!