The Magical Wheelchair: A Christmas Story

Gilbert White lives in a brownstone apartment with a decent view of Central Park. He does not have any friends or family and is a rather lonely old man. He collects disability checks and spends his days walking through the park. He looks forward to these walks and enjoys the exercise and the fresh air. He has Tourette syndrome so he is unable to keep a job. He had worked for the post office delivering mail for forty years but his disability caused him to lose his job. People were constantly complaining and Gilbert’s boss didn’t want to keep losing customers. Gilbert has a case of what is called Coprolalia in which he yells obscenities at people uncontrollably. This illness is difficult to control and it has greatly affected the way Gilbert lives. It has held him back from living a normal life but nothing prepared Gilbert for the day that would change his life forever.

Gilbert was crossing the street one day to take his usual daily walk in the park. While he was in the middle of the street, his Tourette’s kicked in and he yelled “HOE” while his head just happened to be facing in the direction of a sensitive old lady next to him. She began hitting Gilbert with her purse in the middle of the busy street while a car started racing right for them. The old lady saw the car and moved out of the way in time but Gilbert did not see it coming and it hit him. Gilbert suffered major injuries and became a paraplegic. When he awoke in the hospital from his unconscious sleep and couldn’t feel his legs, he came to the realization that his new form of transportation would become a wheelchair. He began to worry about not being able to take his walk through Central Park anymore.

When he was taken home to his apartment, Gilbert was surprised to see a wheelchair sitting there waiting for him with a red ribbon on it. He didn’t know how it got there but Gilbert was a simple man and never questioned anything. The wheelchair looked every bit of normal. It was fully functional and durable, both the things that Gilbert needed for his strolls through the park. It was all he was concerned about and Gilbert didn’t ever hope for anything more.

It was night time and Gilbert got sleepy. He wheeled over to his bed and lifted himself up. Gilbert felt overwhelmed knowing that he would have to do this every night. For the first time ever, Gilbert realized he was alone and that feeling made him cry. He cried himself to sleep that night only to awake to the same reality. Every day Gilbert woke up, made himself breakfast, took his daily stroll on his wheelchair through Central Park, and came back home to spend the rest of his evening alone. And every night he would lift himself onto his bed and cry himself to sleep.

One night while Gilbert was sleeping, he was awakened by a little man in a green suit.

“Are you currently seeking employment?”, asked little man asked.

Gilbert was not frightened at all and responded “Yes, but I am not able to work around people.”

The little guy told the man that he already knew everything about Gilbert and still needed his assistance. “What kind of job?”, asked Gilbert.

The little man grinned and said, “A job at the post office”.

Gilbert was excited and missed his job at the post office so he agreed to go with the little man when he told Gilbert that they must leave at that moment. The visitor helped Gilbert into the wheelchair and brought him up to the roof. He told Gilbert to hold on and yelled “Beam me up Scottie!”

All of a sudden, Gilbert noticed he wasn’t on the ground anymore. They floated up together, way above the clouds, so high until all Gilbert could see was white. There was white snow everywhere around him when the wheelchair landed. There were more little men around singing and building toys and the whole place looked like it was a page out of a children‘s book.

“Welcome to the North Pole. My name is Fredrick”, said the Elf…and the wheelchair that you are sitting in is magical. We are offering you a place to live here with us with a job and full benefits. Unlimited refills on hot cocoa and an everlasting supply of happiness. With that wheelchair, it will give you the chance to be in both worlds.”

Gilbert was astonished. So astonished, that he started to question why all this was happening and asked the elf, “Why me?” Soon then, he realized that in the North Pole, he had full use of his legs and his Tourette’s was gone.

“Here you can be productive and happy. Your job responsibilities include helping Santa and the elves prepare the toys all year for Christmas and enjoying all the great perks that the North Pole has to offer…Here you can have friends and celebrate every day. There is never a sad day here at the North Pole”, said the elf.

Gilbert could not turn down this opportunity and started right away. The North Pole employed Gilbert from January through November of every year. But for the month of December, Gilbert took off to stay in his world. He found comfort in strolling in his wheelchair through Central Park for the whole month during the holidays. He wore a Santa suit, (that he borrowed from Santa himself), and people encouraged and welcomed him while he yelled, “HOE HOE HOE” with a smile on his face. This brought Gilbert great joy that he could find a way to bring  joy to others. He was merry and the old man never cried himself to sleep again.

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