Experienced a powerful moment today…
… Watching a dad help his physically challenged kid out of the car.
I was to pick up Natasha from the horse farm at 1 PM. I reached there a few minutes early and parked the car on the ground along with a few other cars and a horse trailer. And then waited in the car with the engine and air condition on. Presently, a small blue car pulled up and a gentleman got out. He went straight inside the barn. I assumed he was there to pick up his son or daughter too.
A few minutes later he came out of the barn. He was by himself. I figured the kids were going to be a little late (they have to untack the horses and all that). I shut down the engine and stepped out of the car to chat up the gentleman. He, instead, greeted me and went straight back to his car. I noticed then that his car was running too. Maybe, he was going back?
He went to the driver’s side alright, switched off the car and came around to the passenger side rear seat and opened the door. It was then that I noticed a small kid in the rear seat – he was probably no more than 7 years old; he was struggling to get out by grabbing the seat in front. His dad was softly speaking with him all the time. Eventually, his dad stuck his head in and grabbed his arms around him and gently pulled him out. He held on to him as he took him to the barn. And I noticed that the kid had an artificial leg.
I stood there mortified by my car. So many emotions were flying thru my mind. I am a dad. Instinctively I put myself in that gentleman’s shoes. And suddenly I remembered why Natasha started coming to this barn to begin with. I had never asked her all the details.
So, on our drive back, I told her what I saw and asked her if she could tell me the details of what happens inside and what she does. This summer, she volunteered in this barn that does, what, she explained to me, is called hippotherapy. I understand physically challenged, mentally challenged (and from Wikipedia I found out later even speech challenged) undergo a therapy where the horse riding and horse movements are used to train the motor skills. Natasha explained how the horse riding focuses the mind because of multiple things to take care of at the same time and that is used as a gentle mental exercise.
As we pulled in the garage and she left the car, I sat back in the car to think thru what I had just learnt. My mind drifted into deep thoughts back to the kid and how blessed he was that inspite of a tough deal from life, he is blessed with parents that are there to literally walk with him every step. I also thought about the lady who ran that farm. She, of course, does not do this for charity. But I hope she makes a lot of money. If there was ever a noble cause to pursue and make money, this certainly had to be it.
I also felt extremely privileged that Natasha taught me about hippotherapy but more importantly that she had chosen to channel her love of horses and her summer time to such a great cause. Next week, I might actually stay back after dropping her to see a great cause in action.