LETTER – Comox resident in a wheelchair grateful for random acts of kindness in wake of snowstorm

Dear editor,

On Jan. 15, the Comox Valley received a taste of the Winter that the rest of Canada was experiencing. Over the next few days, snowfall levels tipped records, and the cold was quite breathtaking… for us.

On Friday I had an important medical appointment. Like everyone else, I negotiated the “snowplow mountain” and travel on the streets.

My journey was made possible by kind acts of individuals in my community of Comox.

I want your readers to know about them. Many are complete strangers to me and simply acted for the good of others.

I could not have left my house had Macy and Karen not come to shovel the ramp to my door. I am grateful to Mike (and all the Transit drivers), who went out of his way to pick me up even though there was no bus stop to access. He had to physically remove the ice from the ramp mechanism to retract it and continue on the route. This made him later. I am grateful he maintained his kind professional outlook throughout the stress of driving in the icy and slush filled roads. The stop I wanted was not cleared, however, he could let me off at the Berwick Retirement Comox Valley ambulance driveway. This space was meticulously cleared. In fact, with a bit of inquiry, I discovered that Darryl, and his maintenance crew at Berwick, cleared the snow every day beginning at 4a.m.. The wide path they carved out was all along the front of their establishment, across the street to the medical clinic I was venturing to and beyond. I appreciate their kind thoughtfulness.

Once out of the clinic, I was able to venture across on the cleared sidewalk and ran into the small path made fronting the Comox Mall. It was a struggle with my wheelchair and I am grateful for Kurt, of Tidal Café for pushing me to The Mill Coffee. Thanks to the folks at the Mill Coffee, many people warmed themselves up and shared tales of “winter adventures.”

With a bit of extra time before my bus home, I ventured along the narrow path of the sidewalks, punted the boulders out of the way from the crosswalks that had accumulated from the snowplow and negotiated the area… kind folks moved out of the path or waited for me to clear it. I am grateful for their patience and caring. I appreciate each person who asked if I wanted to be pushed and allowed me to say that I did not when I did not. Having autonomy and self-efficacy is important to all of us. At the bus stop, a gentleman kicked the slush and ice ridges to allow for the driver to lower the ramp.

It takes a whole community to choose to make a place inclusive and accessible. These are a few of the people I met on one morning, who were creating that kind of community in Comox. I am grateful to each of them.

Karin Kratz,

Comox

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