After losing her voice for a while and learning sign language, one young girl uses her skills to help a deaf woman in distress.
as they drove away she signed 'thank you so much for your kindness' and cried
A year ago I lost the use of my voice for months and had to learn to sign. I was very bitter about the situation and really didn't want to change my communication methods, even if it was temporary.
For the entire time I was silent I would get really angry with anyone who tried to speak to me in sign language because I was so adamant that I was 'normal'. I never saw that learning what it was like to be a mute was actually a gift. I never appreciated that being able to speak in hand signals would have uses outside my own communication needs.
One day, as I stood outside the railway station waiting for a taxi, a woman walked up to me. She signed to me that she was deaf and wanted a pen and paper to draw on so she could ask me a question. I signed back to her and asked what it was she wanted to know. She was so surprised to meet someone who would actually be able to communicate her and we got chatting.
She had little money, lived on the street, had never learnt to read or write and it was 15 years since she had seen her family. Now she wanted to find her mother who was dying in nursing home somewhere in the area.
In her pocket she had a scrunched up piece of paper, which when smoothed out turned out to be some sort of government taxi voucher for disabled people. But she couldn't make the taxi driver understand where she wanted to go, or that she wanted to pay her fare using the voucher. So I spoke to the driver and explained her situation and he was more than happy to take her. I helped the lady into the taxi and as they drove away she signed 'thank you so much for your kindness' and cried.
As I walked away I thought how much it meant to this woman that I could help her. My mum always used to say to me 'Out of everything bad, comes something useful'. I never really gave it much thought until this experience. I lost my voice and my whole world came crashing down, I had to learn to speak in a whole new way and I hated it. Yet going through that experience meant I could help a lady when her world was crashing down around her and I was so grateful for the ability to do this.