- Three Angelsby Aussie
This work has reached the exceptional level
The love and joy they brought
Three Angels by Aussie
True Story Contest contest entry

Way back in the nineties I wanted a change from nursing. I applied for a supervisor's job at a Sheltered Workshop with one hundred trainees.

I had had some experience with disabled, young adults and the woman that employed me was pleased when she saw my CV (employment record.)

I was introduced to a very noisy place where trainees did simple jobs like filling first aid kits, packing envelopes and counting screws.

Along the hallway, separate from the noisy area was a room for severely disabled young adults. This was to be my room and I looked forward to working with the three angels. People are not always what they seem, I look on the inside and every person has special needs and in turn, talents waiting to be born.

Chris (my boss) was new to her role in running the workshop and the staff were not impressed with a young boss. So imagine what they thought when I turned up? The old staff had been lazy and not interested in bringing out the best in the 'kids' as we fondly called the trainees.

Chris was determined to give them goals and the young people, quality time: apart, from counting screws and eating junk food.

And so we worked together on learning programs which included sports and taking them swimming one day a week. As days rolled on I became very fond of my three angels.
Joey was twenty-seven and very crippled, shorter in stature than me. His mother had spoilt him of course, she thought him unteachable. Next was Patty, so much love she bowled me over every time I turned up for work. She took my hand and led me to our little room. After reaching our room, on went her apron; she thought it was cooking day. Then there was Richard who was a Down's Syndrome, eighteen year old.

Richard was a devil in disguise. His boots were scuffed because he covered his eyes and shuffled as he walked. I was later to find out, he did this on purpose because he just didn't want to be in the workshop and couldn't stand noise.
Generally I rode my motorbike to work and as Richard began to trust me, he took my helmet and put it on his head. He never showed emotion, everything he did meant something to him and I just had to try to work out what; Richard never spoke all the time I was with him.

i started to use the Peabody Language System and Patty really enjoyed the cut-outs, dressing up cardboard people. I did have two other trainees in the group but unfortunately, they were in their own world.

Everyday I took them for a walk to the local park and Richard made contact by kicking the ball back to me. We were making slow progress. Little did I know he was having a lend of me and was self-sufficient when at home.

Apparently, the old employees used to make fun of him and if he wouldn't walk to the bus, they dragged him.

One summer's day I asked Joey's mum had he ever been swimming? No, but she trusted me enough to go buy a pair of swimming shorts for him. That day was magic when I held him in my arms in the pool, rocked him in my arms he paddled the water with his one hand. He giggled. I had never heard him giggle.

Richard was watching Chris in her bikini. He swum behind her and undid her bra-top! Cheeky angel. That day in the heated pool was wonderful for all of us - Joey's mum cried tears of joy.

Wednesday was cooking day. I took them to the little shop not far away to buy ingredients. Simple cooking of course. I was so glad they all had aprons. One day we made coconut-ice. Joey was very keen to stir the mixture and Patty had coconut from one end of the kitchen to the other. It was fun, they were happy and we did end up making something - sort of.

We had seven buses and I had to go for a license to drive a 24- seater. The old employees told me I wouldn't get it because the man that signed off on the test never passed first-timers. The test was tough. I had to drive it, pretending there were no brakes, bring it to a stop sign by going down through the gears. The stop sign approached and I couldn't get it into first gear, it rolled over the line. I thought I was done for - but no, he passed me first time. Boy, were the staff angry when I waved my new license under their noses.

After two years at the workshop, I was on my way home and my motorcycle was hit by a car. I was critical, spent three months in hospital and had my leg amputated.

Those years at the workshop were the best times, the three angels gave me love, made me feel special and I will never forget them. Joey and Patty passed away a year later. I often think about cheeky Richard the angel with a sense of humor.


Author Notes
Contest Entry for True Story. Best days of my life as an able-bodied person teaching intellectually challenged young adults.


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