A few months ago, or maybe even a year, there was a massive accident at work and one of the guys lost a leg. At the time, I had had a few interactions with him – helping him with email or printing a document, and I really liked his sunny disposition. He was always so happy and friendly, and then apologetic that he had to call me for help (which is my job after all). Everyone in the office liked him, and he brought light into the room with his presence. Nothing seemed to get him down and he was always smiling his biggest smile. He had a job he loved and took pride in being able to provide for his family.
Unfortunately, things happen. Someone forgets a procedure, something doesn’t get tied down correctly, and the next thing you know, he’s being rushed off for emergency surgery. Words like “save the leg” and “amputation” started to be murmured, and the entire work place was in a state of quiet shock – the fact that it happened to such a nice guy highlighted the complete unfairness of it all. The doctors and surgeons did an amazing job but they couldn’t save the leg, and had to amputate just below the knee. From what we were told, it was a take the leg, or lose his life.
Complete side note:
I must commend the business here. They stood up and took responsibility, even more than was legally required. They supported him through everything, and told him that when, or if, he feels like returning to work, there will always be a position for him. I can’t say much, but the level of support him and his family got from the business has shown everyone what a company looks like when the management and top brass value people over profit.
With my whole fitness thing, I have tried to gym in the mornings before work, and I often see him there. We sometimes work out together. He is there, talking to everyone, still with his sunny disposition, and still being a light in the room of sullen gym-bros who are just too cool. He just happens to be rocking a prosthetic leg. But that doesn’t slow him down or stop him from doing what he wants to do.
Every so often we work out together, and if I thought he was an inspiration for being himself after the accident, he’s even more so after a few conversations. He’s not afraid to be real about his condition, the accident or any part of his life that has been effected by this. Its amazing to hear after something terrible has happened to someone that all its done is double down. Double down on their faith. Double down on who they are. Double down on whats important to them – family, friends, people.
He will tell you without hesitation how the accident effected him negativity – with PTSD and flashbacks and night terrors. But in the same breath will tell you that its been a lot harder on his wife and his children, and sing their praises. He will tell you how its limited him job wise, but tell you how its opened up opportunities he would have never had before – like speaking to school kids about how he is able to live a normal life even with a disability. He will tell you how he has gone on computer courses, and spoken to so many different people, and even that he’s going back to rugby and going to try out for the regional disabled team. And if that doesn’t work, he has an opportunity to train to be a ref for school rugby. His words are “It has become a blessing”.
He was able to take one of the most traumatic experiences a person could go through, see all the good thats come out of it and grab hold of every single opportunity that has come his way. His attitude has allowed him to cope. And he will straight up tell you how hard its been and how hard it continues to be, but he doesn’t let that get him down.
We often look at the rich and famous for inspiration. We often look to those that are so far removed from us, we have no hope of emulating any point of their life. When we should be looking at those we know – those who choose to get up every day and silently get on with the job, no matter how hard the job may be. They do what is in front of them, not because they are looking for praises or recognition, but simply because it has to be done to move forward. These are the true everyday heroes. These are the real inspirations.
My God, my wife, my friends and this guy, inspire me every day to be a better man, a better person and a better human. Nothing is too big that I can’t get through it with those I love by my side.
If you’re reading this Nick, just know – its not only me you inspire every day, but every single person you encounter. And every single person they will encounter. You’re awesome, man. Don’t ever stop being your bright, sunny self.