Have I mentioned that I love New York? And New Yorkers are the best.
Yesterday each of the kids knocked off a must-do from the to do list for NYC. We went to Central Park and played on the little concrete maze and rock climbing thing, and wings and slides. Very nice. Walked down Fifth Avenue and another kid visited The Strand bookstore-a big hit.
The afternoon was meant to be a stroll through Little Italy and Chinatown-we caught the subway down, got off at Canal and then-YIKES. The special needs stroller! A flat tire! Somebody's errant earring got stuck in the tire-FLAT CITY.
My special needs kid can walk, but not for big distances-without the special needs stroller, we are literally grounded. Panic time as we starting looking all around for a hardware store that could possibly patch it up. One guy at a hardware store tried-he was very sympathetic, but the pump wasn't working. Then, we thought-a bike store, they would have wheels. We asked the souvenir vendor where the nearest bike store was and ran over-CLOSED. Of course it was closed. It's Erev Christmas, I reminded myself. We're screwed!
Then we thought, OK let's try to find a kid store to buy a lightweight stroller just as a temporary fix.
Then, a cellular phone store. Now you're thinking a cellular phone store? What is she nuts? But I had a plan.
A sympathetic clerk helped us locate the next nearest bike store, and even called to see if they were still open and if they could help. Yes! Open till 6. We thanked him and trekked down Broadway, through the shopping masses with the limping stroller-stressed!
Went up to the bike level and a lovely young guy said, sure we can help. He started to work on it, but then realized that they didn't have the right size inner tube. So, he called a competing bike store down the street and asked if they had the right size. And they did. So, having heard the story-that it was for a disabled kid's mobility-he walked the part down to the store himself.
Another staffer smiled at my son, and went right to work on the tire-expertly. She was amazing. We thanked them all, and then went to pay. She spoke to her manager and from what I could see, asked for permission NOT to charge us for labour. They would only take $5 for the part. The manager told me he had two kids of his own, so he understood.
And then, we were mobile and on our way again. Absolutely amazing.
So, I'm going to write some formal thank you notes to these folks but let me say that Rachel at Eastern Mountain Sports on Broadway saved our vacation. And Antonio, the salesman at Verizon at Broadway and Canal also was a huge help and put us onto Eastern Mountain Sports. Without these sensitive people, we would have been really stuck.
New Yorkers are the best. Tough as nails, but among the most thoughtful people ever. And, I'm not sorry any of it happened, because now we have learned to keep extra parts on hand-better to learn that now, in New York City rather than in the middle of nowhere.
Then, a snowy, wet walk to dinner, a less wet walk back and then a good sleep.
Merry Christmas to all and G-d bless America.