Mo­torist without legs seeks as­sis­tance

The Star (Jamaica) - - Front Page - SI­MONE MORGAN-LINDO STAR Writer

When Neil Stewart parked his mo­tor car in the hand­i­capped sec­tion of The Gleaner Com­pany Me­dia Ltd’s of­fices yes­ter­day, one would think that he may have not seen the sign.

But upon closer in­spec­tion, it was dis­cov­ered that he had driven the ve­hi­cle without legs. In fact, he has been driv­ing without legs for sev­eral years.

Stewart said it was ter­ri­ble car ac­ci­dent in 2008 that caused him to lose his mo­bil­ity. He stated that his lengthy stay in the hospi­tal and be­ing forced to use a wheel­chair re­sulted in him hav­ing cir­cu­la­tion prob­lems and other com­pli­ca­tions.

“It was ac­tu­ally Valen­tine’s Day and I was go­ing to visit my mom in St Mary when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened. I dam­aged my spine and spent a few months at the Kingston Public Hospi­tal (KPH) be­fore go­ing to Mona Re­hab. Mi did have on the two legs at the time but be­cause mi never did a use them much, them end up get slim and black,” he said.

Stewart said he was later told by his doc­tor that it would be best if he got both legs am­pu­tated, and af­ter much thought, he un­der­went the pro­ce­dure in 2015.

NEVER MAKE ANY SENSE

“It never make any sense keep the foot dem be­cause they were in­fected and it never make any sense to keep the legs and let it cause my life. The per­son who I was in­volved in the ac­ci­dent with, when he saw that I was go­ing to lose the legs, he gave me one of his ve­hi­cles and that is what has been helping me out,” he said. Stewart had to mod­ify the ve­hi­cle to be able to drive it. “When mi get the van mi start sell bag juice, dough­nuts, sweets and snacks and so on.”

But his abil­ity to earn a liv­ing has been sti­fled since the ar­rival of COVID-19. He points to the empty card­board boxes on the back seat, stat­ing that months ago they were loaded with his goods.

“How­ever from COVID come into play, ev­ery­thing gone bad. School lock so I can’t sell at school gates any more and some of the shop­keep­ers who used to buy, stop, or not buy­ing that much again. Mi is a very hard-work­ing man and it’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity to take care of my fam­ily,” he said.

Stewart said that be­fore COVID-19, he had saved up $60,000 but that has dwin­dled.

“One time if a even sil­ver (coins) mi coulda save and take care a my­self, the ve­hi­cle and mi fam­ily. Mi save enough sil­ver to buy tyres, oils and ev­ery­thing it need. Mi have a youth who use to work with mi and mi could pay him a day time and still save a $700 or $1,000 but I can’t do it any more,” he said.

Stewart, who lives in Hunt­ley district,

Manch­ester, is plead­ing with the public for as­sis­tance to get his busi­ness back up and run­ning. He is seek­ing roughly $100,000.

“I will be okay and I will not ask for help again be­cause I will be able to man­age on my own,” he said.

NI­CHOLAS NUNES

Neil Stewart says he needs help to get his busi­ness restarted.

NI­CHOLAS NUNES

Ac­cord­ing to Stewart, these boxes are usu­ally filled with goods for sale, but COVID19 has put a damper on his liveli­hood.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.