A Handle on Love

A Handle on Love

From A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul

A Handle on Love

The summer of ’86, my wife and I were heading east when we came upon an 18-wheeler. The driver was signaling to get into my lane, so I eased down on the brake. As the truck pulled ahead we heard on our CB radio, “Thank you, four-wheeler.” We engaged in CB chat and asked him if he knew of a good place to eat. He said to follow him.

We sat together at the restaurant and asked him about his handle (CB name). It was Frankie the Clown. He said that he spends a lot of time on the road and many lonely nights in hotel rooms. He carries a clown suit with him, and sometimes during a layover, he dresses up and visits with children at the nearest hospital. A towering man with gigantic, rough-hewn hands, it was hard to imagine him in costume. Then he told us a story about why he did this. The twinkle in his soft brown eyes spoke volumes about his rewards.

I was pulling a load , nervous ‘cause I was behind schedule. Just then, my engine starts to over heat so I took her to a garage. The y told me to leave her while the y waited for parts. So I checked into a hotel, bent out of shape be cause this was going to cost me big .

Even though I felt like sulking alone in my room, I convinced my self to put on my clown outfit and he ad to the nearest hospital.

When I arrived , I told the nurse in charge of the children’s ward why I was there. Reluctantly, shelet me do my thing. I knocked softly on the first door but got no response. I care fully opened the door and saw a little boy, about three or four years old , lying in his bed and staring at the ceiling. I bounce d ove r to him and said , “Hi! I’m Frankie the Clown. What’s your name ?” He continue d to ignore me , his small lip s purse d toge the r. Fighting the urge to move on to the next room, I started my routine. Finally, I got a smile , which kept me going. Within minute s, the boy was laughing out loud and so was I. We we re having so much fun that I hardly noticed the nurse as she came in, wrinkle d her brow, then left. We began to talk. He told me his name was Johnny and he was four years old .

Just then, I notice d the room filling up with nurse s, doctors and orderlies. Oops, what did I do? I thought. Turning to the nurse , I apologized for making such a racket.

She looked me straight in the e ye and said , “Frankie , you’ve got it all wrong. You aren’t a nuisance—you’re a blessing! This little boy has been with us for three weeks and no one , I me an, no one has be en able to get any response from him. We apologize for interrupting, but when I told my co-workers that the little boy in room 109 was talking and laughing, the y had to see it for themselves!”

As I rode back to my hotel, I wasn’t frustrated or mad be cause I was lo sing money. I was on top of the world. My load would be late and I still would n’t be rich. But I had mad e a little boy in room 109 laugh, and I felt like a million bucks.

Paul Glanville

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