A man in a wheelchair was struggling to unfasten the seatbelts that were clasped to it. It was the right thing to do to get up from my seat, even a stop or two early, and unbuckle the belts and help him off the bus. On the way down the lift to the sidewalk, he took my hand and pressed it to his shoulder. He looked at me over his shoulder with gratitude plain in his expression.


On the sidewalk, I realized how ugly he was. The left half of his face appeared to be paralyzed, the eye clearly didn't work, and it looked like he was missing a part of his jaw. He was shaved irregularly, with large patches of beard on his cheek and under his jaw. The right half of his face wasn't handsome, although it was functional, and he stared at me meaningfully for a few seconds before attempting to talk. To speak, he maneuvered his right arm up to his neck, where I noticed a small hole. He plugged the hole with his finger, and said in a rattling whisper, "Thank you."

"No problem." The bus retracted the lift used to lower his wheelchair and pulled away from the curb to continue slowly down the street.



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