(a long story) PET goes “where wheelchairs won’t go” in Panama

We have given some more of the “Pet Mobiles”, we are very particular to
whom we donate since they must be able to use them and hopefully be able
to be as independent as possible. Vicente is waiting for some reports from
donations made out of our area and I am sure he should have some
interesting stories.

Let me tell you my story about ALAIN. Back in December 2010 I received a
call from a past Vice President of Panama asking if we had wheelchairs
available and I said yes, we had wheelchairs from a California based
organization called Wheelchair Foundation and he asked if we could donate
to a young man he met the previous week when he was traveling up to his
country home. He stopped off at a wayside store which sells cheeses,
homemade bread etc. This young man, Alain, was carried to his car and of
course he thought he was a beggar asking for a handout. To his surprise
Alain said he was not asking for a handout, he required a wheelchair since
the one he had was old and in very poor condition.

I made contact with one of Alain´s relatives and they told me where he
lived which was quite a distance from the Cheese store. Being December
near Christmas, my grandson just returned from College, and the timing was
just right, since the VP was hospitalized soon after his meeting Alain.
What good timing. From what I had planned, this certainly would not take
much time, I dressed in my usual going to office attire which includes
shirt with tie. I will be back in the city in no time since I had some
meetings set up.

The tripping was going well, I turned off the Interamerican Highway where
I should have; until I reached the small town which I was told Alain
lives on the outskirts in one of the suburban communities.

I stop to ask if they knew Alain and where is his home. To my surprise I
was told he lived in a town about 5 miles away, and it was on a dirt
road, better description a mud road since it began to rain. We kept on
going no problem I have four wheel drive. Well we got stuck in the mud
and thank goodness a pickup truck came by and saw our dilemma. The truck
had on board who just so happened to be the mayor of Alain’s community.
I thought I should let him have the wheelchair and I would return to the
city. NO he insisted we go to Alain’s home and they would guarantee I
will be pulled out of the mud if required on the return trip.

Reached Alain’s home and I get out of the car and slip in the mud and I
mean all of my back, but never touched the front, tie in tack!

We met Alain gave him the wheelchair but really not practical for his use.
He has very strong arms and now that I was introduced to the Pet Mobile,
this would be ideal. The plan would be that he keep the Pet at the store
go home in the evening as he usually does. When he returns to” work” each
day since he sells vegetables. With the Pet Mobile he will be able to go
up to the car and show his goods. If anything this will certainly impress
the potential customers. As I said he does not ask for handouts, he wants
to sell!

Upon my return I went to the hospitaljust before Chjristmas to visit the
VP with a framed picture of his man Alain, he was very pleased.

Friday Vicente Alberto will be delivering his new vehicle, I am really
looking forward to hearing about Vicente’s experience.

Saludos to all,


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