A disabled Vietnam veteran waiting two years for the Veterans Administration to give him a new wheelchair got instant, unquestioning help from three home improvement store workers who called it "our honor" to fix the chair after it fell apart on a shopping trip.
In a letter to his local newspaper
, the Staten Island, N.Y., veteran, Michael Sulsona — who lost both legs above the knee when he stepped on a land mine in 1971 — related how three extraordinary Americans put the VA to shame.
"For the past two years, I have been waiting to receive a new wheelchair from the Veterans Administration," he wrote to the Staten Island Advance. "In addition, I have been told that I am not entitled to a spare wheelchair.
"On the evening of July 7, my wheelchair fell apart again, while shopping at Lowe's Home Improvement Center on Forest Avenue in Mariners Harbor. Three employees, David, Marcus and Souleyman, jumped to my assistance immediately. They placed me in another chair while they went to work.
"They took the wheelchair apart and replaced the broken parts and told me, 'We're going to make this chair like new.' I left 45 minutes after closing hours in my wheelchair that was like new," he wrote, adding that he "kept thanking them," and they simply replied:
"It was our honor."
Sulsona said their generosity "showed me there are some who still believe in stepping to the plate."
"They didn't ask any questions, didn't feel the need to fill out any forms or make phone calls," he said. "Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity," The Advance reported.
By Monday, Sulsona's story had been shared more than 125,000 times — and "at least two" people offered the vet new wheelchairs while others offered financial help.
The paper noted, however, that Sulsona wants just one thing: "the VA [to be] held accountable."
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