Michael Sulsona is a Vietnam veteran who lost his legs to a land mine in 1971. He has been in a wheelchair ever since. The Veteran’s Administration provided him with a wheelchair, of course. But that was awhile ago and Sulsona’s current wheelchair is falling apart.
He has been waiting for two years for a replacement. That’s right — two years. Sulsona has been keeping his current chair serviceable… barely. But when he asked for a back-up chair, he was denied.
Earlier this month, Sulsona was at a Lowe’s in Staten Island when his rickety wheelchair broke down again. Immediately, three Lowe’s employees came to his assistance. The problem was a sheared bolt, which had happened before but, instead of just replacing the bolt, the three young men told Sulsona that they would make his chair “like new.”
They placed Sulsona in another chair and went to work on the wheelchair. Sulsona says that, when he thanked the trio, they replied that it was their honor to help. It took a while but David, Marcus and Souleyman were as good as their word. They worked past the store’s closing and, 45 minutes after that, the wheelchair was like new. Sulsona writes in his letter to the Staten Island Advance:
“The actions of these three employees at Lowe’s showed me there are some who still believe in stepping to the plate. They didn’t ask any questions, didn’t feel the need to fill out any forms or make phone calls. Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity.”
Renews your hope in humanity, doesn’t it? And, adding to that, the three refuse to be interviewed or photographed, preferring to remain out of the limelight.
A statement from Lowe’s advised journalists that the three “wish to remain private.” They were “just doing their job,” they say and were “honored” to be able to help.
What about the Veteran’s Administration? With a rather public example of the VA’s lack of response and insanely long waiting periods, what could they do? They gave Sulsona a brand new wheelchair and released this statement:
“We were very sorry to hear about the reported circumstances surrounding Mr. Sulsona’s request for a new wheelchair. We quickly investigated and can report the Veteran’s new custom wheelchair was delivered to him yesterday, and it along with his back up, will be serviced by the VA as needed… Providing veterans like Mr. Sulsona the quality care and benefits they have earned through their service is our most important mission at the Department of Veterans Affairs. We care deeply for every veteran we are privileged to serve.”
Sulsona’s story has gone viral, with people all over the world expressing sympathy and applauding the actions of the three Lowe’s employees. If only this, and stories like it, could make a real impact on everyone. Promoting compassion and kindness is a wonderful export. We should all try to spread as much as we can.
Thank you for your service, Mr. Sulsano. And thank you for your compassion, David, Marcus and Souleyman.
h/t and Photo: Staten Island Live.