Sunday, December 07, 2008

Rolling along

I was recently reminded of a business colleague who I would see numerous times a year in the 1990's. My friend William from Charlotte was paralyzed in a very unremarkable motorcycle accident while in college. He remained the consummate good ole boy, inspite of his lovely wife's efforts.

I knew him when we were in our 30's and early 40's. Of all the people I'd regularly see at my business meetings, William would put us all to shame with his athleticism and physical activity. Wheelchair basketball and racing were part of his routine.

William was always a gas to be around and he never slowed us down. In fact, he had to slow his chair to let us walkers keep up with him and he never let an escalator get in his way. He'd effortlessly wheel a 180 in order to ride up or down the moving stairs backyards. Bystanders would typically gasp when he did this. I also became a near expert at assembling and disassembling his chair to fit in a car.

William participated in a lot of charity events for paralysis causes. That, and with his engaging personality, made him well known around Charlotte. He would regularly work out in the gym at Hendrick Motorsports with Jeff Gordon's pit crew. He became well enough known nationally that a mono-ski manufacturer flew him to Colorado to test their prototype models. In his spare time he organized and participated in a handcycle marathon from Charlotte to the Atlantic Ocean as a fundraiser.

What reminded me of William (sorry Sheryl, but he's not Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy) was this Elliot guy. The activities he lists at his "About" page sound like things my friend would do. I'd like to see how Elliott handles escalators.

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