Ok. I’ll confess to complaining about my 6 night a week work gig. It’s true that I fantasize about having 2 days a week off at some point in my future, but one thing I can say with certainty is that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. For now.
The people closest to my heart get to hear all of my co-worker stories. Trust me–they’re worth hearing. Sometimes you have to have a visual and this is where the people closest to my heart have the advantage: they have seen all of the people who keep me so entertained. They know what they look like, what they sound like, and how they carry themselves. I train and work with people who have disabilities, be they learning, physical, or psychological. Don’t get me wrong. We don’t laugh *at* them. We laugh with them. (Except for the non-disabled one who has epic meltdowns. We simply make bets with one another as to when the next meltdown will take place. Whoever wins gets a candy bar of their choosing because if we used money, we’d all be broke).
K.Z. is in a category of his own. I cannot even bring myself to think of him as disabled…because he is a miracle. A living, breathing, walking, talking miracle who has a smile that can light up the darkest warehouse. I was praying for a miracle the night K.Z. introduced himself to me. Without knowing my circumstances, he came walking toward me, stepping with his right foot and dragging the left one behind, and told me his own story.
I’ll share the condensed version but it will still give you Miracle Goosebumps. K.Z. was born a perfectly normal little boy in 1957. He was in a fatal car accident in 1962 that instantly killed his grandmother (the driver) and his uncle who was sleeping in the backseat when their vehicle collided head-on with a tractor-trailor rig that was transporting 40 tons of flour. K.Z. had been riding in the front passenger seat. Like his grandmother and uncle, K.Z. had been pronounced dead by the coroner.
A newspaper article reads, “By a stroke of fate, the mortician who was called by the Tennessee State Police, recognized that the five-year old boy was alive and instead of taking all three to the morgue, he began putting into operation medical services for the boy.”
The accident left K.Z. with both legs broken, his cranium split, one ear partially ripped from his head, his chin demolished, his tongue detached from his mouth, and his left arm broken in four places. His left foot somehow ended up in a reverse position.
After spending eight months in four different hospitals, K.Z. was released to go home with his parents with these instructions: Keep him dry, warm, and comfortable. His parents were told that he would simply be a vegetable.
Although K.Z. could not hear, see, or speak, he remembers his parents’ brand of physical therapy. They’d fasten a belt around his waist with ropes tied to each side. Both Mom and Dad would hold tight while their little boy attempted to walk the length of the hallway in their home. And they just never quit.
When K.Z. graduated from high school in 1978, the writer of the Rocky Mount N.C. Telegram wrote, “His recovery had been a miracle. The human body, in its wonderful structure, is of itself, a miracle, and the wisdom of medical science and the power of the omnipotent God, are best shown in Chavis’ desire to be a normal young man.”
I completely agree. Because medical science in 1962 was definitely not what it is today. Also because the country was in a very heated moment in regard to the Civil Rights Movement…and K.Z. was a little black boy.
Today K.Z. is the father of four and grandfather of two. He comes to work everyday with a smile. No kidding. If you ask him how he’s doing, he’ll reply, “Doin’ just fine. I’m happy to be here”…and when you look into those miracle eyes, you can clearly see that what he speaks is truth.