Unselfish ‘helps’ will add up

Tom KingFarragut

A few weeks back my Monday began with an early morning visit to our doctor. Bummer. A chilly temperature in the low 30s was exacerbated by a cold, misty rain.


Someone in the middle of the parking lot caught my eye. She was alone. Elderly. Short. A big bag over her left shoulder. A cane in her right hand. People were walking past her, and it was a ways to the front door. She would take a step and stop, then another step and stop, using the cane for balance. Watching her was tough.

The office door was much closer to me. Just inside the door were the wheelchairs. When you’re pushing a wheelchair anywhere, automatic doors are a godsend. She had made little progress when I stopped in front of her and said, “How about a lift?”

She just smiled. She settled into the wheelchair and we were off. Once inside we sat side by side near the line of patients waiting for the reception/check-in drill. I made sure we had our places in that line.

With a nod of her head, she thanked me ever so sweetly. “I see I do have an angel that found me this morning,” she said, reaching a hand out to shake my hand. Her red hands were gnarly, fingers and knuckle joints and hands grotesquely swollen, fingertips pointed in varying directions. The flashbacks of the hands and feet of my grandmother began, she too afflicted with the dreaded disease known to many as “RA” – rheumatoid arthritis.

“How long have you had RA,” I asked.

“You noticed. Too damned long. Got it all of a sudden three years ago. I was just 77. It’s killing me,” she said.

We got her up to a window. She gave me a big smile. A nurse took over. Never saw her again.

Then it was off to my next bit of waiting in an exam room. You know the drill. It was quiet. Could not stop thinking about her and what made me help her. Many didn’t.

So, a reader may wonder, what has this to do with the Rotary Club of Farragut? What made me help her without really thinking about it when others were not? Maybe helping others is a DNA thing. Maybe my parents and grandparents instilled it in me. But for the past 33 years Rotary has been part of my life.

In my second year in Rotary, 1989, this worldwide organization adopted its principal motto – “Service Above Self.” It represents a call to unselfish service. I never paused to think about helping her in that parking lot. She needed help. I was there. I helped.

One unselfish help after another adds up.

To explore membership in the Rotary Club of Farragut, email Tom King here or call 865-659-3562. Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and has been the editor of two newspapers.

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