Opinion

Attitude of Gratitude

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Most of you know I’m a driver in the Pro Mod and Pro Extreme classes, but my day job is working at my family owned mobility business called Access Able Mobility. There, I have the privilege to serve those with disabilities and help people in need of mobility. We service and sell wheelchairs and scooters, along with converting vehicles so people who were once stuck at home can go out on their own and be independent again.

I remember one day at work when a man named Steve pulled up in a large van. With a big smile on his face he asked if we could help him out. Steve had such a great attitude that you just couldn’t help but smile around him. Many of our regular customers knew Steve, too, and always bragged about how full of life and happy he was, so we asked Steve to help us out part time in the business. Well, what began as a part-time job soon became full time and led to 10 years of great friendship.

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So you’ve heard how happy and positive Steve was, but now let me tell you what you don’t know. Steve was a paraplegic and spent his days in a wheelchair. He was injured when on vacation when he slipped on a piece of ice leaving him paralyzed. He was a captain on a fire department at the time, but because he was off duty his medical bills were not covered. Steve spent almost a year in the hospital and lost just about everything he had. To make matters worse he had only 50 percent of his lung capacity due to being in a plastics fire years earlier.

Why am I telling you all this, you might ask? Because Steve was more than just my friend, he was a true example of someone who would not let their circumstances destroy them. He would often say: “There are people who have a lot more problems than me, so I have nothing to complain about.” Not only that, but his care and concern for others was amazing. Steve certainly had his own problems—as we all do—but would always go out of his way to help others. I once witnessed him give someone money one day knowing full well that Steve had very little to no money of his own. Wouldn’t you know the very next day someone blessed Steve with twice the amount he gave the day before.

I could go on and on with stories about my friend Steve, but wanted to use his example to show you what he taught me. Some days may be better than others, but if you allow your circumstances to control you, then you will be lost. Every day can be great; it all depends on what you decide on ahead of time. We worry about things we can’t control, we play the victim role, we complain about nothing, and simply allow ourselves to be defeated. But let me tell you something, it is vitally important not to be governed by your circumstances! Patience can overcome any problem and the choices you make today will either make you or break you. So stop complaining and start enjoying the day. Good and not so good days will come and go, but the person you can be is the one you choose.

Steve passed away several years ago due to lung complications, but even in his last days he never complained. He made people in the hospital laugh and shared the joy in his heart with everyone. “No complaints here,” was his response to the end.

So the next time you get upset because you’re stuck in traffic or your day just isn’t that great, or you lose first round at a race, just think that it could be much worse and you are perfectly blessed right where you are. I have to remember this myself daily. Today is a gift and I urge you to use it wisely. Take advice from my friend Steve and smile, laugh, love, and maybe even go out of your way for someone else. Remain and complain, or develop an attitude of gratitude; as always the choice is yours alone to make.

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