Saint Nick by Jarrod Marrinon

Here is a piece written by Jarrod Marrinon who keeps a blog at: http://www.iwearmywheelsonmysleeve.com/.

You see a lot of negativity travelling on public transport, Bogans swearing and talking about the latest way to rip off Centrelink, The homeless begging for small change to feed themselves, or young teenagers hanging around outside Flinders street station smoking instead of going to school or work but sometimes you get a glimmer of hope….here is mine.

Yesterday I went out for lunch with a friend in the city. We had the breakfast menu even though it was 1pm and we chatted about a range of things. TV shows, Movies, going out, relationships, work and our disabilities. We are both proud people and proud of our disabilities but there was a bit of bitching about what we can do and what we can’t. Lunch came to an end and we both said goodbye and I headed down to catch the next train to Narre Warren. Sipping on my coffee I have just brought hoping it will keep me warm on such a cold rainy day in Melbourne a boy in a wheelchair pushed by his mother came out of the platform lift and had puzzling looks on their faces.

“Where are you off to? I asked as I noticed that the boy was non-verbal at the same time. “Springvale” The boy’s mother replied. I lead them to the right end of the platform as it was the same train line as mine. They both seamed lovely and the boy’s mum was a breath of fresh air and wasn’t your stereo typical over-the-top-wrapping-in-cotton-wool or one of those mums who complain about how hard it is to look after a child with a disability. This mum just loved her son and wanted the best for him. We waited together as the train stopped at the platform. It was the first day the two of them have ever been on a train before and they needed my wisdom of being on the train a 7 times week for the last 6 months to show them where people in wheelchairs usually sit and how the chairs fold up. We chatted a bit then got separated as I offered my seat to an older lady with a walker. I watched the boy and his mum for most of the way. The mother asked the boy if he wanted to listen to some music and with the nod of his head he said yes. The mother help him put the ear phones in his ears as he also had limited hand function. I then saw something that made me so happy. The boy smiled and started to dance in his chair. The old lady who I gave up my seat for was getting off the train. Being intrigued by this young man I went back to sitting next to him and we both just listened to music, each with our headphones on. I was getting lost in a song I was listening to and looked away for a few minutes…. I heard the two of them having a conversation and they now had his communication book out. I turned down my music and pretended the song was finish and put my Ipod away. With the communication book he was trying to say “Hi, my name is Nick”. His mum looked puzzled and so was I but almost at the same time we put the pieces together. Nick was starting a conversation…..WITH ME!!!!!!!!!!!! After his mother pointed in out more clearly I replied “Hi Nick, I’m Jarrod” his mum was so proud and happy that nick was engaging in conversation and even more so for starting a conversation! I didn’t want it to end there so I quickly came up with something to say and I asked him is age. I knew his mum was awesome and everything but I was waiting for her to tell me his age as so many parents with non-verbal kids do but not this mother! She helped nick navigate through his communication book to the numbers section and asked him “Tell Jarrod how old you are and she went through the numbers and when she got to 9 he smiled and noded”. Sadly the conversation came to an end as my new friend (ok, maybe not my friend but my favourite person of the day) Nick and his mum where getting off at the next stop. I eagerly said “It was lovely to meet you Nick, Have a great day”.

I put my headphones back on and smiled the rest of the way home…. If I can have a conversation with a 9 year old boy who can’t talk then those Bogans don’t need to swear, the homeless should be able to find somewhere warm to sleep and get a nice meal and the kids who hang out at flinders street all day can all go back to school and man the up! We can all get by.

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