25 September 2007


I thought I might manage to go a full two summers of tour bus driving without ever having to use a wheelchair lift but I was wrong. Yesterday I was assigned a tour with a wheelchair confined individual by the last name of Chopoff. If this 80-year-old woman had actually been an amputee that would already be the end of a great story. Ms. Chopoff and her daughter had apparently been planning their trip out to Skagway, Alaska for quite some time. Having made numerous inquiries by phone to many of the local vendors about their wheelchair accessibility, they chose to pan for gold in Liarsville where each pan of gold is salted with a few flecks of Canadian gold. Ms. Chopoff, however, had not managed to inform herself on the fact that the value of gold to be found was limited to probably no more than a dollar fifty. Her daughter excitedly had me wheel Ms. Chopoff to the panning trough, we both helped her rise from her chair for the occasion, she attempted to find the gold only to hand the pan to me, and then, when I showed her the gold in her pan, she spoke. The translation soon followed (Ms. Chopoff spoke something I assumed to be Chinese), "This is ridiculous! You can't even make necklace or anything with this much gold!" The daughter then explained that all night her mother had been dreaming of all the gold she would find and what she would make out of it - rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc. While this seemed to me the greatest disappointment of one woman's eighty-year life, Ms. Chopoff seemed less than phased. Her daughter on the other hand kept repeating the expressions of disappointment supposedly coming from her mother. I loaded her and her wheelchair back onto the bus for the short drive back to the cruise ship and there on the dock the dream ended, as did my experience with the lift.

1 comment:

xanthoman said...

Ms. Chopoff sounds like a wonderful person. I would drive buses up north every year for the rest of my life if I was promised to meet people like that once in a while. Down here I meet a few doves called 'head off'. The poor critters git blown outta the sky only to be winged and wishing they had flown south a few days early. Somebodies gotta pop their head off so they don't worry about it any more. It is really kind of sad. Best wishes to Ms Chopoff.