Confidence is Contagious


Turning Point Park, City of Rochester NY, 10/24/17

I met this guy today, and I want to tell you about him.

I was walking in Turning Point Park in the city of Rochester, soaking up what could be our last unseasonably mild and sunny day until spring. I’d been wanting to come to this place for weeks, having seen photos on Instagram of the crystal blue water and the expansive elevated boardwalk, surrounded by vibrant tree-lined dropoffs.

The park was breathtaking. There was a barge plodding through the waterway, ducks diving for fish (I took a short video to show my kids ), a cool breeze rustling the dying leaves.

I got to the end of the boardwalk and kept going. The path becomes wooded. A giant old tree had fallen down in last night’s rainstorm and was blocking the paved road, so I thought nothing of taking the higher unpaved path closer to the water. I walked a few minutes more before turning around.

As I re-approached the boardwalk entrance, I noticed a man on a recumbent bicycle. He was trying to get back down to the main road from the unpaved upper path, but the descent was too steep. Clearly he had been trying to navigate around the tree in the road, and gotten stuck. I noticed he had a prosthetic left leg and a missing left arm.

“Do you need help?” I said.

“Well…do you have a cell phone?” he said.

“Yes, I do.”

“Maybe just hang out for a minute in case I don’t make it down OK.”

I asked if there were another way I could help him, and he said he should be good, he was going to try to get down at a different point. He maneuvered the bicycle to the top of a well-worn rut in the ridge.

“I’d stand back if I were you,” he said.

He lined the bicycle up with the path and pushed off, steering sharply as the bike met the paved road. He made it.

“Phew!” I said.

“As for getting back up, I guess I’ll figure that out later. Thanks for the assist! Have a good day!” he said.

“Best of luck,” I said.

He took off down the boardwalk, sailing alongside the water on his bike. I thought about him all the way back to my car. This guy was determined to enjoy the gorgeous day and the ducks and the sparkling water — no matter what. He seemed so unfazed; trees in the road are his reality. His mindset was positive and attuned for finding solutions. His confidence was startling in its clarity and left me feeling inspired. I’m more equipped to go about my own day because of him.

And I have no doubt that he’ll find a way back