A Real Thanksgiving Thought … from Disney Last Year

21 11 2007

I’ve been going through piles of paper and found a journal entry to myself.  The sad thing is that I must have lost this gal’s address along the way, but I think she is doing just fine.  The lead in is that I was going to my first Marathon and I really didn’t feel all that confident.  I guess it was because so many things had been blown into my way … but I finally felt relaxed … for the first time in months.  Happy Thanksgiving.

“Went to check out the finish line and saw some of the 1/2 marathon folks come in.  Cheering everyone, but didn’t really recognize any faces probably since I couldn’t make the trainings.  Everyone that has worked so hard to fundraise deserves a big YA HOOO!!!  My situation is so screwy, but that’s ok.  Rode the bus back to the hotel and sat next to a heavy set girl from Minn. 

“Can I sit here?” I asked … the bus wasn’t full, but something told me to sit with this tired girl in a TNT singlet. 

“You probably won’t want to.  I’m a loser.”  She was probably 25 and had tears in her eyes.

Unceremoniously, I plopped my butt in the seat and said “Where did you get that idea? NOBODY is a loser!”  She went on to tell me that she got to mile 10 and simply gave out.  She’d given everything she had, but she couldn’t give any more and wasn’t able to finish.  She felt like she’d let everyone down and was really upset.  She’d raised $1000 over in memory of her sister and had done her level best …

“Well … here I am sitting next to you … about $1000 down in my fundraising and wasn’t able to really hook up with my team due to a messed up job I had.  I was fired about 10 hours before I got on the plane from Denver based on lies.  I have done almost all of my training on treadmills because I had to be up at 3 a.m. and got off at around 1 p.m. and was beat.  This morning I woke up to the news media saying ‘They’re getting going with the Disney World Marathon’ thinking I’d missed the thing … Tomorrow … I’m walking my first marathon and I’ve got absolutely no clue if I can do this.  But I know ONE thing for sure …”

“What’s that?”

“I’m sitting next to a winner!  Someone who just kept plugging away and doing it!”

When we got back to the hotel, I asked my new friend if she would meet me in the little restaurant and handed her my re-fill coffee cup. “Could you fill it with some diet cola and a couple of lemons? I’ll be back in a sec.”  I jammed into the gift shop and found a lanyard I could put some fun pins on.  A gal in the shop, when I explained what I was doing — trying to make a new friend feel better — was able to give me a break on the cost and one of the Disney World bags … and gift wrapped the whole thing.

I went back to the restaurant … and my friend was sad again … seeing everyone with their Donald Duck medals.  I handed over the gift box … and it was like seeing a little kid at Christmas.  I had found pins with all the Characters she had said she liked and said “I don’t give a fig … they might have the golden ducks … but YOU’VE got a one of a kind!”

I finished my marathon … waited for Cindy to cross the line … couldn’t care less about the woman trying to move me on.  We kind of got separated, so I was kind of alone again.  I talked with my California Crew and checked in with TNT … then kind of wandered alone.  As I was leaving, this gal was running up to me “LIZZY from DENVER…. LIZZY from DENVER …” It was my friend!  Again, I couldn’t remember her name … but there she was.  Huge hug!

“I was able to see you get down to the line.  You laughed and made people cheer! Darn tootin! Lizzy had ARRIVED …” she kept chattering happily and her Special Medal bopping … “You did it!  You were AWESOME! Come on …”  I put my hard fought for medal around her neck and she laughed saying “Ok – yours is nice, but mine is Hand Made!” Laughing, she lead me over to where the busses were and found us seats.  I was beat.  When we got to the hotels, she handed me a box and said “Thanks for being a friend …” and disappeared.

I opened my present after the ice bath and there was a note inside: “I’m going to keep going Lizzy … like you said … one step at a time … Might be slow, but I’m not going to stop … show my kids and family I can.  I am a winner … something for you …”  A 2007 Disney World Pin … with Stitch on it …. that will forever hang on my Mouse Medal.”

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