March 14, 2021

When a Disability makes you Extraordinary.

I had a “good-busy” day today.

That means the day flowed with an even hum. I was gone all day and took myself out for sushi dinner—table for one. My partner, Alan, had a work event and gave me an honorable discharge.

On my way home from dinner, I stopped at Coffee District for a latte, or as Alan likes to call it “the world’s most expensive cup of steamed milk.” As I waited in line, a guy in his 30s walked in and stood right behind me. He had some kind of disability, which caused him to walk differently, and when he spoke, I had to concentrate on his words because his speech was somewhat slurred.

I wanted to understand him so I paid close attention as he spoke. When he placed his order, he introduced himself to the girl behind the counter. He asked her if she was new and wanted to know her name. He couldn’t have been any more comfortable in his own skin. He then turned to ask me if I was there for karaoke. I said I was just stopping in for coffee on my way home. He told me he was staying for karaoke, and I wished him good luck.

At that point, my latte and I moved over to the condiment station, and as I was sweetening my drink, he walked over. He asked me my name, but not in a sleazy way—that was immediately clear. I told him my name was Cathy and he said his name was Evan. We shook hands. He walked over to a table.

Here was a guy sitting by himself at a coffee shop on a Friday night, waiting for karaoke to begin. With the way differently abled people are treated in our society, he had every reason in the world to feel self-conscious or uncomfortable. Instead, he could hardly contain his excitement.

He was a ray of light…a breath of fresh air. I wanted to stay for karaoke just to cheer him on. I said goodbye, and again, I wished him good luck.

On my walk out to the car, I thought about all the times in my life I’ve held back, when I’ve played it small out of fear, or been self-conscious or critical of myself. This guy, my new friend Evan, showed me how it’s done. He had a smile on his face that went from ear to ear; he was genuine and unafraid. He was unwavering in sharing himself with the world.

He was doing what I always ask people to do: “Live your truth.”

I want to be more like Evan. I’m going to be more like him. I hope his parents are proud of the man they raised.

He was hardly disabled. In fact, he was one of the most “abled” human beings I’ve met in a very long time. I see people every day who walk and talk perfectly, but who don’t have half the soul that Evan has. Meeting him was the best part of my day. I may have to go to karaoke one of these Friday nights and rock it out with him—I’ll even be his backup singer!

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