I could see him from the stage.
He was standing, barely.
His arms were bent in positions that they were not meant to bend…and staying there.
He was making moaning noises. More groaning than anything.
And from stage I could see saliva running from the bottom left part of his mouth.
Lot’s of saliva.
To where I could see a puddle forming at his feet.
He was alone.
Had a bag.
And was moaning and clapping uncontrollably.
I am keenly aware of my ignorance in the field of those with disabilities.
I simply knew he was disabled.
Similar to my friend with cerebral palsy I met a few years back.
After my set I walked over to my merch table and I could hear him coming.
“Just look him in the eye. Just smile.” I kept telling myself.
I also kept telling myself…”You obviously need to expand your friend list Carlos, cause this is a ridiculous conversation to be having with yourself right now”
Right away my 2 merch volunteers asked him if he wanted to buy a CD.
He simply kept staring at me and groaning.
He obviously wanted something.
So I walked to the other side elf the table and said…”Hey buddy. My name is Carlos”
Saliva was literally pouring and bubbling from his mouth as he got more and more agitated.
“What’s up buddy?” I asked him.
He got so agitated that he dropped his bag and everything fell out of it.
“Hey buddy. Do you mind if I give you a hug?”
I didn’t wait for an answer because I knew I wouldn’t be able to understand anyways.
The second I hugged my new friend he calmed down.
All I could feel was his breath slowing and his heartbeat pounding.
My shoulder was wet from his saliva and my nose smelt his unbathed skin and unwashed clothes.
But I just held him.
You know why?
Cause I had no idea what else to do.
After a good 15 seconds of hugging and him calming down I let him go and bent down to pick up all his stuff.
His wallet had fallen out of his bag and I opened it.
His name was Will.
I looked at him in the eye and said…”Will. Your name is Will. And Will, I needed that hug, more than you will know.”
Saliva stopped pouring from Will’s mouth and instead tears began to fall from Will’s face.
Will reached into his bag and pulled out $22 bucks.
My cd is $10 and my shirts are $12.
And it hit me.
Moments earlier he was a salivating special needs man with an obvious lack of mental capacity.
Now he was a man named Will.
A man who cried when I called him by his name, a man who can read the signs on my merch table, a man who can count money, and a man who obviously has the same mental capacity I do.
Will took a CD and shirt and stumbled off, but not before he groaned one more thing at me.
“I love you too Will”, I said… and he walked away.
I obviously have no idea what Will said to me before he walked off…
But I do know this…
Today there will be those you don’t understand, those who will disgust you for a moment, those who are desperate trying to tell you something…
And today all you need to do is realize…
It’s better that way…