I went to the Super Market to grab some groceries. As I was walking to my car, I noticed a guy with his prosthetic leg and bicycle. I’ve never seen anyone riding a bicycle with a prosthetic leg. I thought it was amazing. I could feel his energy and there was something light about his spirit, which drew me to want to talk to him. Yet, I hesitated, and continued to load my car. I was going back and forth with myself about approaching him. I then said “fuck it” and grabbed my camera but once I turned around he was gone.
I then made my way to CVS and as I got out of my car I saw the guy walk out of CVS. It was meant for us to cross paths. I introduced myself and asked if it would be ok to take his picture. I admitted that I’ve never seen anyone with a prosthetic leg riding a bicycle He said it would be fine as long as I didn’t capture his face. I promised I wouldn’t then continued to ask him what happened to his leg.
Jeff was driving from New York on his motorcycle on the highway in a rural area near Pittsburge, Pa. An 18 wheeler was passing him by, then cut him off not realizing Jeff was still in range. Jeff could not drive off the highway because of the guardrails nor could he brake fast enough. He was clipped by 18 wheeler truck. Jeff was flung from his motorcycle and his leg instantly ripped off. The truck driver kept driving and did not stop. A stranger that witnessed the accident followed the truck driver and tracked him down. Despite Jeff being hit, the truck driver and the trucking company claimed that Jeff hit the truck. Since Jeff did not have the money to fight the case, the company and driver did not take responsibility and states Jeff was at fault for the accident. All this happened about 7 years ago in July. It took him a year of healing and rehab before he could walk let alone use his prosthetic leg. He described what it feels like to have a “nub” and stated that it feels like “a live wire when it’s touched, its very painful”. He can’t walk more than a mile with his prosthetic leg so instead he rides his bicycle. Jeff thanks God that he is alive.
Despite his experience, he did not have malice in his heart and instead he had faith. Meeting people that has been through extreme traumatic events in life and yet still have faith is inspiring and motivating. Recently someone told me there are only two things we can be in life when facing our life’s hump or obstacle, you can either be a victim or a fighter. When I met Jeff today, it confirmed to me what that person meant.
Jeff is a fighter.