Morgan Wheeler of Fayetteville, West Virginia, will never forget the day she crossed paths with a disabled veteran, who she believed to be in his 60s or 70s, struggling to maneuver his wheelchair through a Walmart parking lot.
After she walked out of the store and got in her car, she began to pull out when she had to wait for the man in the wheelchair to pass by.
“As I watched him, I noticed that he was missing his right leg from the knee down and was wearing, what appeared to be, old, government issued, combat boots,” Morgan recalled. After explaining that it appeared that the man had stopped to take a break, she added, “He had not realized that I had started my car and was attempting to pull out, so when he saw me, he waved in an apologetic manner and rolled forward three more times and took another break.”
But, Morgan didn’t leave. “I backed up my car the inches I had previously pulled forward, put it in park, turned off the engine, and got out. I walked up to him and introduced myself.” The 21-year-old then asked the man if she could be of any assistance.
However, he said that he didn’t need any help. “He, quite grumpily, said that he was doing just fine,” Morgan said, but she was undeterred. “Me, being as stubborn as I am, insisted and proceeded to push him and tell him a little about myself.”
“He was very grumpy at first, but you could tell he was a proud veteran,” Moran would later tell TODAY. “I really wanted to help him so I pushed through his comfort zone a bit.” And, push she did. She didn’t listen when he said he didn’t want help. Instead, she wheeled him into the store, and she certainly didn’t take the hint when he tried to shut her up as she told him about her life.
“He interrupted me and said that he only needed help to the door, to which I picked up where I had left off before he interrupted me,” Morgan said, recalling the conversation. “I told him about Fayetteville, and my horses, and my nephews,” she continued, adding that she “had parked a good ways away from the doors.” But, the doors wouldn’t make a difference anyway because Morgan wasn’t about to stop there.
When the pair reached the entrance, Morgan continued to talk, and the man’s wheelchair wasn’t the only thing the young woman would push — she was going to push to find out more about him. “We reached the produce area and I asked him to tell me about himself,” she said. “He reluctantly looked at me and began telling me that he lived in Sod- Lincoln County and that he just recently lost his wife,” she added.
“I asked him if he was a veteran, to which he replied that he was,” she recalled, adding, “but with pain on his face, so I changed the subject and asked if he had made a shopping list.” He handed her a list with just four things on it: peanut butter, soup, bread, and bananas. So, Morgan continued to talk as she picked up the items on the meager grocery list before asking about other essentials such as milk, eggs, and butter. She certainly didn’t expect the answer she was about to get.
“He told me that he might not make it home, without them going bad,” Morgan explained. “So I questioned how he got to the store. He told me that he did what he was doing in the parking lot until he got to 119 and then hitchhiked with a trucker to the parking lot,” she added. That’s when Morgan knew what she had to do.
“So I called a taxi for him and grabbed the essentials plus a few other things and put them in the cart,” she said, and she likely didn’t expect what would happen next. “After placing a gallon of milk in his cart he was crying. People were passing by us, looking sideways at him. I knelt down and asked him what was wrong and he replied, that I ‘was doing far too much for an old man that I barely knew.’” Morgan had the perfect response.
“I told him that where I am from, and from the family I was raised in, we help one another, no matter the task and that I had never met a stranger. I also told him that he deserved everything I was doing for him because he fought for my freedom and sacrificed so much,” the West Virginia girl further explained in a post on social media.
Morgan went with the hero, who had fought for her and all other Americans’ freedoms, to the checkout line, where she paid for his groceries, against his wishes, before taking him outside to wait for the taxi together. Although she never asked for his name or questioned him any further about his personal life, she said that he thanked her over and over again and appeared to be in a much better mood than when she found him.
When the taxi arrived, Morgan helped load the man, his groceries, and his wheelchair into the vehicle before handing the driver $44, the only cash she had, and giving him instructions to not only take the veteran home but help him into the house.
As for the veteran, “I told him thank you for his service before closing the door. Tears formed again and he thanked me one last time and said, ‘God bless you.’ I returned to my car, and could not help but cry,” Morgan, who knows men like the one she helped at Walmart that day are the reason we have the rights we enjoy, wrote in her Facebook post about the incident.
“This is the world we live in today. How many people passed him and would have continued to pass him while he struggled?” she then asked rhetorically, humbled by the experience and saddened by the idea that a person who risked everything for our freedoms could be ignored by everyone around him as he struggled.
Her post perfectly concluded, “Today was a truly humbling experience for me, and I consider myself extremely blessed to have the capability of understanding what is truly important in this world. THAT man was a HERO, and far too many will say otherwise. I am sorry that this post was so long, and if you have read it to this point, I hope you are as humbled as I was. God bless the men and women who have fought for our right to view the wrong people as heroes, and thank God for the people who know better.”