DEAR ABBY: I speak for the people who are in wheelchairs permanently, having been in one myself for a short time following a head injury.
Recently, I went to a concert in the park. I noticed a man in a wheelchair struggling to get to the dancing area. As he approached people, he would reach out as far as he could with his better hand. He was rejected time after time -- or just plain ignored.
Finally, my heart just couldn't take it anymore, so I walked over to him, took his hand and started swinging it back and forth to the rhythm of the music. Then I "danced" quickly around his wheelchair as I held his hand.
Ordinarily, I am scared to death to perform in front of people, but I was as peaceful and self-assured as I could be.
The only thing I saw was the look of happiness in his face. When the song ended, he pulled me close enough to give me a sweet little kiss on the cheek. After that, others "danced" with him, and he had a wonderful time.
Abby, I ask everyone to treat people in wheelchairs as if they were standing up -- to recognize their courage and realize that they have the same feelings as you do. -- CELESTE RICE, LORANE, ORE.
DEAR CELESTE: Thank you for a letter that warmed my heart and will be appreciated by many.