By Verena Dobnik of Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — What the Veterans Administration failed to do for double amputee Michael Sulsona in two years, some New York hardware store workers delivered in an hour: They fixed his broken wheelchair.
The 62-year-old Vietnam veteran said he petitioned the VA for a new chair two years ago and received no reply. Then his wheelchair broke last week.
When Sulsona was in a Lowe’s home improvement store on Staten Island, a bolt on the already worn-out wheelchair snapped and a back wheel was about to fall off. Three Lowe’s employees stayed late after their 10 p.m. closing time to do the repair, for free.
“They said, ‘You’re not leaving till it’s like new again,’” Sulsona recalled.
The next day, Sulsona wrote a letter to his local newspaper, the Staten Island Advance, to thank the store’s employees.
“I kept thanking them and all they could say was, ‘It was our honor,’” he wrote. “The actions of these three employees at Lowe’s showed me there are some who still believe in stepping to the plate. … Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity.”
Sulsona, an ex-Marine, said he lost his legs in 1971 during an explosion while on patrol.
Naturally, the Veterans Administration had the “appropriate” response:
After his letter to the newspaper, the VA got word of Sulsona and sent him a brand-new wheelchair Tuesday.
In other words, after they were humiliated in public, the VA did something; not before.
[wikichart align="left" ticker="Low" showannotations="true" livequote="true" rollingdate="1 year" width="300" height="245"]There is a Lowe’s store in Lehighton, and I do a considerable amount of shopping there; we spent thousands at Lowe’s on the kitchen remodeling project. And we found out one thing first hand: Lowe’s offers service members a 10% discount on everything, as long as they have their military IDs with them; that has saved us a lot of money.
A few years ago, at the Lehighton Lowe’s, I was looking for something, and asked one of the red vests — Lowe’s store employees wear red vests — where I could find a particular item. He told me in which aisle, and started to take me there. I told him that he didn’t have to do that, and he responded, “Sure I do; you’re my paycheck.” Now, I don’t know if he was trained to respond that way by Lowe’s, or if that was just his existing attitude, but the man understood how business works, and that it is the customers who keep him employed. I appreciated that.
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