A black eye for Orlando

A friend told me about an experience that happened earlier today. I’m relating it through his eyes.


Orlando suffered a recent attack that left too many dead, injured, and frightened. For a shining moment in time, we joined together. Fear would not tear us down!

But impatience, well, that’s another issue.

While driving down a major, busy highway in town, I came upon a traffic jam. Nothing new, and we city-dwellers are pretty used to it. Eventually, I came up to the reason for the slow down. It was a disabled car half-blocking a lane. Other cars veered around it, some cussing, others sounding their horns. The male driver, wearing standard Florida casual attire of shorts and a t-shirt, looked anxious.

I hold no special citations or mechanical know-how, but I’ve certainly been broken down on the side of the road before. So, pulling over, I asked if there was something he might need. Gratitude shined through his expression. He told of how his car ran out of gas, and he needed help getting to the station, as his prosthetic leg was ill equipped for such a hike.

Admittedly, I had noticed his one bum leg, but until he said something, I didn’t feel it necessary to mention. Since he did, I asked how it happened. His description was brief, almost curt. He told me he was a military veteran, and lost his leg when his convoy hit an IED. That choked me up, but I just nodded.

I took his gas can and drove to the station and filled it. Returning to the car, he tried to give me money, which I refused. He tried to take the job of pouring the gasoline into the car. I refused that as well.

As I put the gas in the car, several cars honked their displeasure at the inconvenience of having to slow down, or heaven forbid, stop. With each beep I became angrier. I tried to wave the morons around, but my gestures became somewhat erratic from my hostility. A finger might have been raised. I can’t be sure. So much for #Orlandostrong.

His car started up after a few tries. He waved his thanks as we drove our separate ways. How long he had been stranded by the side of the road, and how much anger he had to suffer at the hands of his fellow citizens that he lost his leg to protect, I couldn’t say. But it made me even sadder. I drove another block and pulled into a parking lot. It was hard to drive blinded by tears.

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