My Princess Moment

I love to travel. Whether it’s through a road trip or a 10+ hr. flight, I love it all. Maybe it’s the fact that my parents took my brother and me on yearly summer vacations when we were young that I’ve developed an itch to see the world. I understand that it’s quite a luxury though, since usually they require a good amount of money. Once when I didn’t fully realize that it was, I bought a $400 plane ticket to San Francisco. Let me stress how dumb I was by telling you that usually you can get one for $100. That’s right, for a quarter of the price. I’m cringing just as much as you are when I think back on it. I only went there for two days to make a decision on where I’d attend college. Believing that I simply had to go, I bought a ticket three days before the flight. When the day came, I brought my tote, got in my scooter and boarded a plane by myself before 6 in the morning. There was just one thing I glided over: booking the shuttle that’d pick me up from the airport. It had a section online for wheelchair users to check off as I made a reservation, but I thought there was no need; my scooter was easy to take apart in three pieces: you just pull off the chair, pop off the battery pack, and roll down the stick with the speed and control part. Or so it seemed. I had only seen those close to me like my parents and friends do it seemingly easily whenever I got in the car with them. This time I was alone.

When the shuttle driver picked me up, I instructed him on how to deconstruct my scooter but he merely nodded and assured me that he understood in broken English while prompting me to sit in the seat in the front. Within five minutes, he was already done, heading towards the driver’s seat. So I was right, I thought. Surprisingly, there were no other clients that day expect me. It was just the driver and I heading into the city. When it was time to get off in front of my friend’s place, my short legs dangled from the high van. I realized that it had been easier for me to get in than to get out. I hesitated while the driver was getting my scooter out – a process that I assumed would take a while to assemble. Then all of a sudden, he came rushing towards me when he saw that I was having trouble. Without hesitating, he scooped me up and carried me princess style so that I could get out of the van. But the problem didn’t stop there: I was out but I couldn’t find a way to stand up. My scooter wasn’t yet there for me to sit in and the poor driver didn’t know how to situate my body so that I could properly stand. I could tell he was struggling as each second went by, and I felt terrible; I didn’t know why I just didn’t stay in the van and wait. We were now both stuck – a stranger carrying me, him standing there while I wondered what in God’s name took so long for my friend to come out from her building. As I was in what was one of the most awkward situations ever, two college students happened to walk by and notice the tangle that I was in. In an instant, apparently the driver had a psychic telepathy with those two guys; they immediately came running over and usurped the position of being my prince. Now two strangers held me as I laughed out of disbelief – everything was just so ridiculous. The angelic driver sprinted to the trunk and heaved my scooter, and that’s when I noticed that he hadn’t taken it apart at all. He had managed to carry it in one piece, which I imagine is more than 100 pounds and I froze out of shock. Just then I heard my name.

“Ellie?” my friend called. I could tell that she just woke up from sleeping, her eyes puffed and hair disheveled as she walked over in gym clothes.

“Hiiii,” I replied back, still in the guys’ arms. After I finally got adjusted in my scooter and thanked the driver ceaselessly while apologizing for my dumb mistake, I learned that the two guys knew my friend as an acquaintance. Let me note here that my friend hadn’t seen me for some years because she went to college earlier than me. This meant that she didn’t know that I had gotten a scooter over those years (she knew me when I still walked). I remember feeling so embarrassed on that sidewalk. But I think about it today, and maybe it’s the best way to greet someone whom you haven’t seen for some time – being carried in two guys’ arms and then lifted down to your own scooter.

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