Helping people isn’t always easy. For one thing, we live in a country where receiving such help can be a sign of weakness, or laziness. Even if someone clearly needs it, they might deny it and act standoffish about it. Many people would then just walk away, satisfied that they at least tried.
But not one determined and kind woman.
Instead of simply ignoring the plight of one struggling veteran, she persevered and continued to help him despite his many objections. In the end, as the tears streamed down his face, he could not understand why she would go out of his way to do something for someone she had never met. For her, though, doing the right thing was too important to ignore.
Morgan Wheeler was about to return home from grocery shopping when something appeared behind her car.
On June 3, 2015, Morgan Wheeler was leaving her local Wal Mart in Malden, West Virginia, when she saw a heartbreaking sight behind her car. A man who looked to be in his 70s was trying to push himself to the entrance of Wal Mart in a wheelchair. The man was wearing an old, government issue combat boot on his left foot. His right leg was missing from below the knee.
As she waited for the man to pass her car, so she could pull out, he took a break. He was clearly struggling.
“He had not realized that I had started my car and was attempting to pull out, so when he saw me, he waved in an apologetic manner and rolled forward three more times and took another break,” Wheeler wrote in a Facebook post.
Wheeler was touched by this man’s struggle. So, she shut off her car and went to meet him.
The man was not very receptive to Wheeler’s help—but she persisted.
Wheeler walked up to him and introduced herself, then she asked if she could help him with his shopping.
“He, quite grumpily, said that he was doing just fine and was not getting much anyways,” Wheeler wrote in the post.
But Wheeler did not let that stop her. The man clearly needed help. So, she pushed the wheelchair towards the entrance. The man protested, but he acquiesced saying that she could help him to the entrance, but no further.
Wheeler ignored that and instead spoke about her life, her farm, her cousins, small talk. Then she asked about the man.
She discovered that the man was a veteran and that he had just recently lost his wife.
When they got the entrance, Wheeler was not finished helping.
Wheeler pushed the wheelchair into the Wal Mart and continued speaking to the man as the two shopped. At this point, the veteran had become far less cold than when they started. Yet, as Wheeler heard more and more of his story she could not help but feel a sense of responsibility for this stranger.
“Once we had gotten the items he needed, I asked if he needed the essentials: milk, eggs, butter,” Wheeler wrote. “He told me that he might not make it home, without them going bad.”
That piqued Wheeler’s interest, and so, she asked how he got to the supermarket. The old veteran simply told her he struggled all the way to the highway, then hitchhiked with a trucker to Wal Mart.
Wheeler was touched by his story, and decided to go even further.
This veteran was having a difficult time, and Wheeler needed to do more. So, she decided, after some time of shopping and talking with the man, that she would pay for his groceries and call him a taxi.
But when she next looked down at him, she discovered that the man was crying.
“I knelt down and asked him what was wrong and he replied, that I ‘was doing far too much for an old man that I barely knew,'” Wheeler wrote.
But for Wheeler, she needed to help. She saw his suffering and how people just walked right by him. To her, that was unforgivable. For her, the man struggling, ignored in that wheelchair was a hero.
“God bless you.”
And so, after paying for his groceries she took him outside to wait for a taxi. When it finally arrived, she gave the man all the money she had on her, $44. He initially refused, but, overcome with emotion and touched by Wheeler’s generosity, he accepted.
“Tears formed again and he thanked me one last time and said, ‘God bless you,’” Wheeler wrote in the Facebook post.
Wheeler went back to her car and cried herself. She was proud of what she did for this man and saddened that the world could overlook his suffering. Yet, there are those who cannot stand by and do nothing and we are all thankful that they are out there doing their part to make the world just a little bit better.