I have seen many interesting sights and scenarios in the short daily walk I take from the train station to the office building in which I work and back again at the end of my work day. Today, however, I witnessed something that could only be described as extraordinary.
After passing through the revolving doors that empty out on to the 16th Street sidewalk, I made my way towards the intersection at Market Street. Here, as I do every evening at this time, I would cross and head down the staircase that leads to the underground railroad station that offers train service to the surrounding Philadelphia suburbs. At the corner, a crowd of briefcase-toting men and women gathered and impatiently waited for the light to change, allowing pedestrian traffic to safely traverse the street.
I stood in the center of the crowd. Above the horn honks and general city noises, I heard a distinctively male voice. And it was yelling. And it was a pretty loud yell. I looked towards the source of the yell and saw a low, silver, sporty-looking car waiting for the light to change. It boasted very dark tinted windows on all sides and its front bumper was well into the pedestrian walkway that was boldly painted on the blacktop. A man in an electric wheelchair was stopped directly in front of the car's bumper. He was close enough to touch the car's hood. And, taking full advantage of his proximity. he began to beat his clenched fists on the aforementioned hood. The man screamed indistinguishable words, emphasizing several sounds with another pounding on the car's front end. From the few words I could to make out, I understood that the car was blocking the wheelchair ramp that is built into the curb, denying the man unimpeded access to his sidewalk destination.
Suddenly, I saw something I had only heard about. Something referenced in many books of religious worship and stories passed on from generation to generation. Something that is the basis for average men and women to be elevated to the exulted position of "Pope" or even "Saint." I watched, along with a stunned crowd of my fellow office workers, as the man slowly — but steadily — excised himself from his captive wheelchair. He rose up, gripping the armrests with his large, clamped hands. He removed his feet from the footrests and placed them flatly and firmly on the black macadam of the street. He stood. He actually stood. I think I heard an angelic choir lift their voices in jubilation. I swear the heavens opened up and a bright beam of light illuminated the formerly incapacitated gentle soul. Once a prisoner in that wheelchair, now he stood strong, certain and unencumbered. He walked with deliberate strides in the direction of the driver's side of the car as the crowd silently marveled at the divine exhibition on display right before our eyes. The newly-healed blessee opened his mouth. I expected words of praise and devotion and gratitude. Instead, I heard him holler: "You're in the fucking crosswalk, you motherfucking pussy."
A miracle indeed. Hallelujah.