I cried for an obese man
Posted on 08/30/2011 by Yvonne McCarthy / 41 Comments / Leave a Comment »
A couple of weeks ago I was driving to an appointment and I saw a really large man walking down the street. Because of his size and the near 100 degree temperature, I knew he had to be extremely uncomfortable. As I pulled into my parking place I glanced in my rear view mirror and watched this man trip with a force that propelled him like a rocket to the concrete. I bolted from my car and ran to him…his arm was already bloody.
“Let me help you up”. He had salt and pepper hair and perhaps the kindest sky blue eyes I have ever seen.
With a perfect Texas drawl he said “Little lady you’re gonna have to pack a little more lead in the rear to help me up!” My heart was breaking for him. I grabbed him by his good arm and we rocked….1, 2, 3, and I pulled with everything I had. No matter how much I wanted to help this man, I couldn’t get him off the ground. He explained he was walking to work and I at first got the impression he was trying to get some exercise. I asked him to stay put and I’d get some help and as I ran into the building, there were just a few tiny women and elderly people that could be of no help. By the time I got back out, a man had stopped to help him up. He was hurt….I told him there was a doctor inside, would he please come in? I know he was both surprised and ashamed that I would help him. He chuckled and said he was alright (he wasn’t). As he walked out of my sight he said “It’s time to go on that diet”.
Of course I knew he’d been on hundreds of diets, just like I had. It was the perfect time to have shared my story but yet it wasn’t. I wish I had at least gotten his contact information so that maybe my signature on my email would perhaps spark a conversation.
Maybe he didn’t have a car and had to go into work anyway for fear of losing his job because of his size. Maybe he couldn’t afford to call for an ambulance. So many maybes. Every day since then I have considered waiting at that parking space to see if I could locate him again. He felt so much embarrassment and I wanted to tell him that I knew there was a perfectly loving man inside trying to get out. I wanted to tell him so many things but most of all that I didn’t see him as just a morbidly obese man….that he was just as valid and worthy as anybody and the shell he lived in did not make him “less than”.
I fell a few weeks before that and was in extreme pain so I could only imagine what he was dealing with. Tears ran down my face for the rest of the day. Call me silly for wanting to do this but I’m going back to try to find him. I want him to know why I didn’t judge him that day.
And why I cried.
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Musician, Artist, Photographer,computer geek and weight loss surgery aficionado. On March 30th, 2001, I had weight loss surgery weighing in at 260 pounds. Since that day I have lost and maintained a 130 pound loss. Yoga and walking my dog were the only exercise I was getting until I started with an instructor and creator of "Body Juggling". Click on the picture on the bottom of this page and it will take you to the site. Read More »
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41 Comments on “I cried for an obese man”
Go and find him Yvonne. Go. xxoo~nicole
Nicole I will do that!
On a quest! Hugs, Y
What a beautiful story reflecting your heart. It really does make a difference for those of us who *understand*… so my friend, you are not silly, I see within your writing a very sweet and humble heart. I hope you are able to find him again, if not, just know you were an angel for him for that moment. We never know when we are planting seeds. I believe you just may have planted some good seed into that gentleman’s life.
Thank you Karen. You are right…we never know when we are planting seeds and I swear I’m going to find him. Hugs, Y
yes…I agree…GO find him.
Thanks Lana, I’m going to do it!
I’m going to do my best Lana!
BEAUTIFUL blog! Thanks for sharing it with us Yvonne!
Thank you my friend. Hugs right back at you.
Well, now you’ve gotten ME crying. I am really an emotional slob about this kinda stuff. I really get choked up when this sort of stuff happens. If I see an older person struggling to get across a busy intersection, or someone who appears to be lost…I just lose it myself. I have been chided by both Juan and Hannah for being “too emotional”…but you know what? That’s what makes ME, ME, and YOU, YOU…and both of us perfectly wonderful people. I’m glad you were there for him, Y…So glad..
Cari you know me and you know how it broke my heart when I couldn’t do it. He said I couldn’t and I said YES WE CAN! When it failed the first time, I said “Let’s do it again”. We can do it! I have a bad back but I was beginning to think he could be hurt worse than just his arm and I didn’t want to take the chance to hurt him worse. I would have paid for a doctor’s office visit but I got the distinct feeling that he couldn’t be late to work. I’m going to find him. It’s not about talking him into surgery…. I just want him to know that I was there once too and that my feelings for him were totally those of unconditional support. I didn’t see his obesity, I saw a man that fell and hurt himself and needed help. Thank you my friend….I know you would have helped me get him up.
I hope you can find him.But if not he will already know that there was someone who took the time to help him and that you showed him that you cared. And Yes I am tearing up as well. We have all been in that place and we are sooo much more than what people see of our outer fascade.
Tressa you are exactly right…we are so much more than our outer fascade but unfortunately so many people can’t see past that. Great to hear from you my friend. I’ve got a trick up my sleeve. There’s a bank with windows that face the street. I’ll bet I can talk one of the employees into letting me know if he walks by often.
YOU will find him…. GOD will lead you BACK to him…. YOU were there for a reason the first time….. BUT, you WILL see him again….. and again, YOU will make a difference in someones life….. for the better…. like you do everyday… I am so blessed to have you as a friend….. you made a difference in my life….. and I love you with all my heart…. I cried as I read this….. God will lead you back…. where you need to go……… I LOVE YOU!
Kim G. you made a difference in my life too. We will be friends forever thanks to a little event in Texas in 2004 that Obesity Help put together. How funny, it was in 2004 and so far we’ve already got 3 people replying to this post that were there. Are you coming to New Orleans next week??? Love you, Y
It doesn’t surprise me at all that you tried to help this man. It’s what’s at the core of Yvonne, a big heart, helping others whether you know them or not. I hope you find him!
Thanks Kim, you know you amaze me in so many ways. I want to bow down in your direction every time I see you. No one else will understand that but we do and that’s all that matters. Much love, Y
Thanks for sharing this touching story. I can relate to the man and the fall as I so many falls before my wls and couldn’t get up; I know your heart was in the right place to try to help him up or to go get help. From a practical point of view, if this occurred again for anyone, call 911 on your cell. The paramedics in most cities will be there quickly to pick someone up, offer them aid, and don’t charge unless they take someone to the emergency room, at least here in SoCal. God Bless you and the man who fell…
Joyce was my beautiful mother’s name. I begged him to let me call someone, even a friend. He was right in front of a doctor’s office. I’m pretty sure he was too embarrassed and wanted to just get out of there. He may have been afraid of the cost and I certainly didn’t know about the charges so I couldn’t advise him. If I’m ever in this situation again I suppose I could call 911 and ask if paramedics render aid, do they charge? Thank you for your kind words.
I know what you mean. So many times I want to share my story, but I remember when I was large and not ready to listen. Last year a MO man at my school died after having a stroke and multiple heart attacks in a short period of time. I do wish I had somehow found a way to share my story with him before his health failed him. That still haunts me to this day.
Laura don’t feel guilt…all we can do is share our story. And to make this perfectly clear I would not have talked about WLS to him. I would have found a way to mention that I had it and leave him the choice of asking if he wanted to. You can’t blindly go up and tell someone about WLS because they may have already had it and failed. I just wanted the chance to mention that I had it and he could take that info if he wanted it. I’m so sorry about the man at your school.
I notice myself being more sympathetic to obese people now that I have lost so much weight. Before I guess I was just focused on me and how bad I felt. Now when I see someone who is obese, I think how miserable they must be and how it hurt me physically to just walk. I wish everyone could know the freedom I have since losing weight ofter my Gastric Bypass.
Jackie you know there’s that saying about “walking in my shoes”. Your statement is the perfect example. NO ONE KNOWS what it feels like unless you’ve been there….especially the unkind people that say “push away from the table”. It is important to see each and every obese person as the person they are under that outside shell they live in.
Y-what a great story! You know-as big as Facebook, etc-there’s a good chance HE will find YOU. God puts us where we are SUPPOSED to be-we both KNOW that-right?? Once again, you make me proud to love you!!
Gina my love, you are right. I just had to tell this story…it was still so heavy on my heart. Every time I think about his face I cry. Just like so many of us when we were obese we didn’t want to bother anyone. Sometimes we don’t get over that after surgery either! Love you sweetie, Y
Ms. Y. I hope that you find this man and that you are able to help him.. I think back around eight years ago and another obese man that you helped.. I know his life would NOT be the same had you not taken the time to answer an email.. That was all he wanted for someone to acknowledge him and help him make sense of his self made hell.. To this day this man has had many ups and downs since you reached out to him and you stuck with him during the lowest of lows letting him know that things can get better…. You were also there for his high points being the wind beneath his wings teaching how to fly.. When he came crashing to the ground you were there to patch up his broken wings and let him know everything will be okay as long as you keep trying.. The counry boy in that man thinks of a song by Clint Black called “Better Man” I’m leavin’ here a better man
For knowin’ you this way
Things I couldn’t do before, now I think I can
And I’m leavin’ here a better man.. That is what will happen when he passes because he is a better man because you reached out to him.. I love you for allowing me to be that man..
Ramon this man was about your pre-surgery size. I will always love you and be so grateful that you made it out of the prison of obesity. All my love, Y
I love my wife…I cried, too, when she read this post to me….
just love you so much for not judging and always being there
I love you Yvonne. You and Kevin found me in a similar state one day. I may not have been on the ground but I was learning to stand on my own and you both reach out to me and helped me when I needed it. This story touches me in so many ways. One, because I know how the guy felt. Two, I know what it means for someone to show genuine love to you when you are larger. Third, I know how precious those Yvonne smiles and Kevin words can be!!!! I adopted you both years ago and I am proud to call you my friend. Keep on picking up strange obese men Yvonne…they (we, me) need to know we are loved and cared for. I am thankful you… you picked up his soul even if you couldn’t pick him up!!! XXOO Bo.
Bo your comment means so much to me, I love you too. Kevin and I fell in love with you the moment we met you and as you can see you haven’t gotten rid of me since so really we adopted you! You know as I think back to that day, we were on a very busy street and I can’t believe someone didn’t pull over and help me. The guy that picked him up was just walking by. Again, thanks for your very nice words. Much love, Y
I have no words for this as usual besides…..it is who you are and what you do. Ramon and Bo could not have said it better. Your an amazing woman, I can only hope to continue my journey working as hard and as dedicated as you. I am constantly watching people and sending love and support to those who need. Offering a hand when I can or when asked for….but silently feeling so many peoples pain. All one can do is continue to set a postive example and support a community that so desperately needs it. I love Y……and this is only and example of the MANY reasons why!!!
Thank you Laura. It bothers me when members of our own community think we have forgotten where we came from. One of the things I love about you is your compassion for those in need. Thanks so much for being my friend.
I hope you do find him. I understand why you felt so strongly. I feel it every time I see a person in a scooter at a store or a person struggle just to breath it breaks my heart because I have been in their shoes and remember the pain, loneliness and feeling of disappear that I would never escape my obesity. So many times I have the urge to go up to complete strangers and hug them and tell them they are good people. It is frustrating because I never want to add to anyones Pain and I am sure that is what kept you from talking about his weight etc. Any way thanks for sharing.
Toni (Antonia) I can’t think of anyone that does more for those in need than you. You are a one woman hurricane that swoops down and does the impossible. To see what you’ve accomplished in such a short period of time is mind boggling and if I could aspire to be a fraction of the woman you are….well I’d be in great shape. Your heart is as big as Texas and California and if anyone questions how much one woman can do, well they haven’t met you. As I have explained in some other comment, I wouldn’t have approached him about weight loss surgery….I just would have gotten his contact information and let it slip into our conversation at some point. I always make a point of looking people in the eye and speaking to them, give them extra attention so they know they matter. Everyone needs a kind word because unfortunately most people get way too many unkind words. Thank you for making this world a better place to live and love in Toni. And for those that don’t know about Toni’s passion, check out http://www.wlsfa.org.
If anyone was looking for the BIGGEST heart in Texas, that would be Miss Yvonne! We love you and are lucky to have you in our lives, special Thanks from babies , Summer, Johnny & Edgar. I’m sure that man was thinking who was that Angel?
Hopefully his employer had not been pressuring him to lose weight, and to “walk more” on that account. Shortly before my surgery, my employer at the time was “very concerned” about my weight and health. In what was ostensibly a good faith effort to improve both, the boss (a former major college football QB, btw) insisted I park my car at the most distant spot in our parking lot whenever I drove in, to maximize my walking distance when coming to work. UGH! All that did was wear me out by the time I got to the office door, gave me no weight loss at all, and could have really jeopardized my health. Some people just don’t get it about morbid obesity!
Thank you for writing this. We all tend to be more empathetic when we have walked a mile in other’s shoes. I know I have much more compassion in several areas having not only experienced being SMO, but also the pain of losing a job and being without work for nearly 2 years. Both traumatic, both however things we can work to overcome. And yes, I remember falling in my back yard. I live in the country and couldnt get up. I had to crawl across my yard to the stairs, skinning my knees and palms of my hands going across gravel, pulling my hulk of a body behind me. I was scared beyond words. I’m glad you stopped. I’m glad you have a compassionate heart. I wish more did, but perhaps sharing the story will stir others to action as well.
If he is on your heart, go find him. We all need that one person who steps in out of the blue and loves us and wants to share something with us.
That is so wonderful you want to find that man and help him. I am like that man myself. I have often feared if something happened to me and I fell, I would not be able to get up. With my weight, it would take several people to help me up.