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Beck column: Beach wheelchair helps me once again enjoy the shoreline

By Linda Beck
For the Salisbury Post
Did you ever wish you could be the first person to come up with a product that would either make you rich financially or blessed spiritually? Well, I don’t think I will ever design anything that will make me rich, but I had the opportunity to benefit from a product that surely made someone rich.
It’s called a beach wheelchair. What an answer to prayer for a disabled person’s heart’s desire. After the major multiple sclerosis attack sidelined me in 2002, I thought the only real enjoyment I could have at the beach would be sitting on an ocean-front balcony looking out over the ocean. There would be no more walking along the shoreline or frolicking in the water. Watching the ocean waves has such a calming effect that it would still be better than not going to the beach.
I feel so sorry for anyone who has never seen the ocean. I am blessed to have gone there at least a few days annually for most of my life.
Last year, I saw the beach wheelchairs from the balcony and knew that if I were to go back again I would try to find out how to get one. I decided to call the Chamber of Commerce at the beach and they put me in touch with the Parks and Recreation Department. I found out I wouldn’t even have to pay to use it and could reserve it for several days if I could pick it up and return it. What a blessing!
Later, I discovered that the hotel I stayed at had one available and this would certainly be something a handicapped person should ask about when making arrangements at the beach.
It is essential to ask for handicapped accommodations so one will have handrails in the bathroom, shower facilities and room to maneuver a wheelchair or scooter.
Well, this trip was in March and it was too cold for me to spend much time on the beach so I only used it one day, but it was fun. A lot of people who had never seen one thought it belonged to me and started asking questions. It was particularly interesting to listen to children and see the expressions on their little faces. Maybe I will get to go again some time when it is warmer and actually let the waves wash over me.
I hope this story will give encouragement to other handicapped individuals who have family or friends to make the arrangements and push them through the sand. It is really amazing how those huge balloon tires will travel along. Disabled folks have a new source of entertainment but parents please don’t let children use these when there are so many folks who may be waiting in line until more become available.
This happens sometimes in the large department stores where scooters are reserved for the handicapped and I read about people who are too lazy to walk in Las Vegas renting the scooters that are there for the disabled. Just as some people park in the reserved handicapped parking spaces.
Shame on these folks but best wishes to the handicapped who have learned something from this story.

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