It started out as a normal day. Well, as normal as a day where you have to unload 40,000 newspapers off a truck by hand can be.
Then I met Tyson.
You know, there are people in life that kinda knock your socks off and remind you of all that is good about living and breathing and not taking a single second of life for granted. There are people whose smile brightens up a room and whose presence simply makes you feel better. Yep, he's one of those people.
You see, Tyson was going about his life when on June 10, 2010 he and his father were in a horrific boating accident that nearly claimed their lives. His Dad was in a coma for two weeks and Tyson 99 days. His family was told he would never walk or talk again and that he would most likely remain unresponsive. Yet here he was, sitting across from me at lunch after helping unload and stack 40,000 papers. He also is finishing his degree in chemistry at UT Chattanooga and is getting married to his longtime girlfriend next June. He is, without doubt, a living, breathing miracle.
There are many things in the story of this young man that are shake-your-head-how-can-that-be-possible things. Like how did he survive 45 minutes with no oxygen after his windpipe was crushed? How did the abscess in his lung disappear when doctors said it could not be attributed to any medical intervention that had been performed? He is the first one to admit that it is nothing short of a miracle and I believe this to be true.
But what struck me most about Tyson is the joy he pours into others. Even after my brief time knowing him, I felt blessed to hear his story and see the smile spread across his face when discussing the things he loves in life including his fiancee Jenna. It made me thankful for all the little things I take for granted. It reinforced for me that anything is possible and that our lives can change forever in a moment's notice.
But, more than anything, it made me grateful to have crossed paths with this amazing young man. Thank you Tyson for your smile, your optimism and for blessing me with your story.
I am forever changed.