37: A Grandpa’s Love

37: A Grandpa’s Love

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

A Grandpa’s Love

A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart.

~Author Unknown

I stared from the deck of my hotel room, intrigued. An older gentleman was assisting a young girl as she struggled to walk down the beach. He must be her grandfather, I thought. Somehow, I was drawn to the drama of the twosome, and winced as she fell. The graying man helped her to her feet, and she continued painstakingly plodding through the sand.

That evening, I ate in the hotel restaurant, and watched as the same young girl proceeded to get up from the table and reach for her walker. She grasped it firmly with both hands, and, leaning heavily, she made her way out of the restaurant, smiling as she went.

As I sipped my coffee in the lobby the next morning, I noticed a sign tacked to the announcement board. “Special Olympics Relays.” Ah, I thought, that must be what the walking lessons are about.

Over the next three days, I watched as the grandfather patiently worked with his student. “You can do it, Sweetheart. Let’s get up and try again.” And at this encouragement, she would struggle again to her feet.

On the morning of the Olympics, as I visited with friends in the lobby, a beautiful bouquet of roses was delivered to the front desk. The girl soon appeared for her delivery, her face brightening at the sight. She smiled as she read the card.

As she walked away, the card slipped from her fingers and she continued down the hallway. I stepped quickly to retrieve it, glancing at the handwritten words as I hurried after her,

To my sweet Elizabeth —you have been the greatest encouragement to my heart these last few days. I love you and am proud of you. Win or lose, you will always be my little miracle from God.

Love, Grandpa.

She had disappeared around the corner, so I put the card in my pocket to give to her later.

Now attached to the little girl and her grandpa, I felt compelled to watch her Olympic event — a quarter-mile. She definitely was a fighter. I cheered as she crossed the finish line — second place. She smiled as she stood on the awards platform, and a tear slipped down her cheek as the medal was placed around her neck. She told the crowd, “I especially want to thank my grandpa for believing in me when I had no one else.”

I found her later, and returned her card. I said, “Congratulations!” As we talked, she revealed that she and her parents were hit by a drunk driver three years prior. She was the only survivor. Her grandfather shook my hand and said, “By the grace of God alone, this little girl is alive and able to accomplish what she did today.”

Elizabeth smiled and hugged her grandpa. “Everyone gave up hope that I would ever walk again. My grandpa was the only one who didn’t.”

~Scot Thurman
Chicken Soup for the Grandparent’s Soul

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