What a beautiful day to go for a ride. The window is open just a bit for me to feel the warm sunshine on my face and the window is adjusted just right enough to control the wind from hitting me directly. I am excited to know where we are going. Normally I don’t care because I love adventures, they never disappoint me. I overheard the staff talking yesterday among themselves, something about how we all are going to be excited for our day trip tomorrow. Did I say I love adventures?
The van is slowing down, stopping at a building. Mary, who is the designated driver for today’s trip, handed a paper to the person in the window and off we went over to the parking lot to park the van. I wait patiently while my friends are taken one at a time over to the ramp to be lowered to the ground.
We are all unloaded now sitting in our wheelchairs. I wonder where we are. I see trees, grass and many people heading towards an entrance. I can see beyond the entrance and there are many different objects, some small, round, square and something that looks like train rails. This object appears to be very large in places like mountains and then it drops down sharply and lands in water. Wow….that really is interesting and I hope someone takes me to the entrance soon so I can get a better look.
Jerry is in charge of wheeling me. He whispers in my ear and says, “just you wait Jason, I have a special surprise for you.” He now has my full attention because Jerry is a cool cat. He once ran with me down the hallway of my building and let me go at the top of the ramp, and off I went. I laughed so hard I believe I wet my pants. Unfortunately for Jerry, his supervisor wasn’t at all happy with him.
Anyway, Jerry is now wheeling me through the gate at the entrance of the park. I am anticipating something fun and exciting. Now that you know Jerry, you can believe he has something special for me.
Jerry walks over to another staff member, they talk for a few minutes and he returns and off we go on our own. I see so many people, hear lots of noises sounding like happy people, laughing joyfully and screaming in delight. I see so many different colors and objects that I never saw before. Jerry whispers to me again, “You are going to have so much fun.” Okay, I am now visually excited, my arms are getting tense. I cannot control my spasticity. Jerry really knows how to build excitement in me.
Suddenly we are at our destination. We stop at the place I saw from the parking lot, you know, the thing that looks like a train rail up a mountain and extends down to, what looks like, a very large pool.
Jerry appears to be having a slightly angry discussion with the person in charge of letting people enter this ride on the rail. I hear the person telling Jerry I cannot go on this ride. He says I am disabled and they cannot be responsible for me .
After a few minutes another person arrives and again Jerry is talking with him. I hear Jerry pleading with this person that I would love this ride and he will sit right in back of me and place the strap around both of us. He assured him I will be in safe hands and continued to say he had no right to deny me the opportunity to have fun like a normal person.
I am thinking how proud I am that someone wants to take me on a ride that only “normal ” people go on. I think to myself, I am normal. Because I sit in a wheelchair doesn’t make me any different than a normal person. I know Jerry will make sure nothing happens to me. He knows how to keep me safe. Why can’t I do what “normal” people do. I have feelings and needs.
It appears Jerry won the argument and the next thing I know Jerry lifts me up and places me in this box that looks like a boat, and he slips in right behind me. We are strapped together and Jerry holds me tight, one arm around my chest and his other arm on my head. Off we go, slowly up a large mountain in this box that looks like a boat. Higher and higher we climb. I am not afraid, I trust my friend Jerry.
We reach the top, stop for a second or so, and down we go, really fast. The wind is hitting my face, Jerry is holding me still when I begin to stiffen with the thrill of anticipation. Jerry is screaming in my ear and I am screeching in delight as the boat-like -box splashes in the water and we both get wet. I don’t care! Jerry looks at me to see my reaction and he knows I loved it and want to go on this wet ride again and again.