I sat in the car waiting, thinking of the excited grin on Eddie’s face like an 8 year old with a new pony. Then I saw them top the hill, Eddie in the lead hovering on his red Pon-e with all the confidence of an experienced rider.
It was a busy Saturday afternoon when Eddie first contacted us. The ring of the business phone interrupted our frenzy of trying to figure out how we were going to get everything done. “Bear with
me,” he said in broken and stuttered words, “I’ve had a stroke.” Then he went on with standard questions that made little sense in this context. “Do you sell the Trikke? I want a T78 Convertible.” I
explained that the T78 Convertible wasn’t meant so much for the road as for fun and tricks – much more of a kid’s vehicle. I also expressed my concern as to whether he would be able to ride it. “I can!” he insisted emphatically, “I am very determined.” I was not optimistic and decided to get my husband on the phone.
The more we tried to explain to Eddie that he might not be able to ride and that, if he could, a larger model would be more appropriate, the more agitated he got. “I will learn to ride it! This is the one I can afford.” We finally decided that Preston would meet him at the church after Sunday morning mass. He took several models including the electric Pon-e.
As soon as I finished my business meeting Sunday I called to see how things had gone for Preston with Eddie. I knew even more from his voice than from his words how deeply Eddie had touched him. “We have to help this man,” he told me with more emotion than I am used to hearing from him. Eddie had figured out very quickly that he did not have the physical ability to do the carving needed to ride a regular Trikke vehicle. When Preston put him on the Pon-e Eddie exclaimed, “This is exactly what I need. I have to find a way to get one of these.”
While we don’t have the cash flow to spend out-of-pocket, we knew immediately we would donate our entire commission to reduce the cost. Next we contacted Trikke Tech, the company that controls all the rights and sales for Trikke carving vehicles. They agreed to a significant price reduction on a demo model. This had reduced the price to well less than half, but not enough to put it within Eddie’s reach. With this information we began contacting charities and stroke support organizations but were unable to find any additional help for Eddie. Unwilling to give up, we called Eddie, told him what we had done so far and what we would like to do next.
“Eddie, can we write your story?” I asked.
“Why would you want to do that?” he responded.
“You’ve got a beautiful story. It touched our hearts. It would touch other people. We could get enough to buy you the Pon-e.”
“Bless you,” he said, “but I take care of myself. I’ll sell my drums.”
This tore at my heart. Eddie became a professional musician at age 15 when he was hired by the Rising Sons and played on the big stage in Atlantic City. All that young enthusiasm shines on his face as he shows us his scrap book and recalls the bands he played with, the relationships they formed and the locations where they were featured. Nearing the age of sixty he still dreams of returning to his music. In addition to over forty years as a musician, he talks of twenty years with a courier service. Then his face falls as he comes back to the stroke four years ago. You can see hints of anger and frustration as he tells of being prohibited from driving. His brother is protective and tries to keep Eddie from doing much on his own. Eddie can get rides from fellow parishioners, but hates being dependent.
“Don’t sell your drums, Eddie,” I implore, “we’ll find another way.” Eddie participates with the parish choir, so we talk to his parish priest who says, “If Eddie doesn’t want his story told, you can’t force him. We’ll get the rest of the money through the church.”
Today we delivered Eddie’s Pon-e. Our intent was to accompany him on the four mile round trip to his church and back to be sure he could handle the Pon-e safely, report back to Eddie’s priest, and deliver the Pon-e as soon as we could complete financial arrangements. At the church we took a break from the heat to sit inside for a few minutes.
“How did that feel?” I asked.
Eddie looked thoughtful than gave an embarrassed smile. “Like an angel,” he responded as the smile took over his entire face. He did, in fact, glow like an angel.
I asked Eddie to sit down and chat with us a moment, and he happily obliged. “Eddie, the church has said they will pay the balance to get you your Pon-e, but I would like to ask a favor.” He nodded me on. “We want to be able to help other people with situations like yours. Can we please tell your story? We’ll use only your first name, and we won’t give out your address.”
Eddie didn’t even give me time to finish my plea. “Yes,” he said. “I want to support you. You are helping people, and I want to help you do that.”
We rode with Eddie back home: Preston and our associate, Jim, riding at his side as they had done on the way to the church while I stayed as near as I could in the car. When I saw Eddie lead the charge over the hill, I knew the Pon-e was his key to freedom.
Back in the driveway Jim began to pack up our vehicles while we talked to Eddie. “When will I get my Pon-e?” he asked, again sounding like a little boy. I knew neither of us could bear to take it away from him so I simply replied, “You have it.” His face lit up like a full tree of Christmas lights. “This is it? I get to keep it? I’m going riding!”
With Eddie’s support we are working to establish the Trikkes for Disabilities Fund. If you know someone like Eddie who only needs a little help with mobility to regain a major part of life, or if you would like to assist in establishing the funding vehicle or contribute to the Trikkes for Disabilities Fund, please contact us at Guardian of the Manor, 703-348-7020.