From the beginning we have donated use of the chairs to people who couldn't or wouldn't have ever dreamed of going to the beach again. Amazingly, there are people who have lived right here in Vallarta for 50 years that have never been on the beach. We often see families carrying loved ones with mobility problems from the pavement to the sand so they can sit on a towel and enjoy the sunset. The first time we gifted the chair, we had only one chair in Mexico and were staying at Paradise Village. We were sitting in the lobby when a lovely woman in a wheelchair checked in with her daughter, son in law, and grand daughters. She reminded me of Mom. I told Sheri, "We're giving her the chair." She laughed and said, "Of course we are." We approached the family and told them we weren't selling anything, but wanted to let them use the beach wheelchair for the day. They were pretty sure we were scamming them at first, but finally decided that we were legit and took the chair. They were to return it to our room at dark. When 10:00 rolled by, I started getting nervous, when 11:00 came along I started making calls. It turns out that they had walked down the beach, gone into the pool, dipped in the hot tub and then gone back to the beach. The daughter said that her Mom was having the time of her life. She and I cried together. Sheri and I knew from the beginning that this business was always about Mom. This was the first time we saw that commitment in action. Mom would have loved that beautiful woman in the wheelchair and would have been proud of us for helping her to the beach.
This became a normal practice for us. We look around and try to find someone to loan the chair to. I wish I had a picture of the first woman, but here is a beautiful picture of a gentle man who we loaned the chair to. He was sitting by the pool with his son, daughter-in-law, grand children, and great grand children. I would guess he was in his 90's. He was non-verbal and no one in the family spoke English. I did my best with Spanish and gestures and got the point across that we wanted to loan the chair to them so they could take "Abuelo" to the beach. His smile was priceless. The family took tons of pictures and insisted that we be in their photos. It was so much fun and so rewarding to see his smiling face. He gave us the "it works in every language" thumbs up and waved excitedly to us as we were leaving.
We still love this game and on days when we aren't busy or if we are staying at Paradise Village with family or friends, we take a beach wheelchair and look for someone to gift it to for the day. Try to imagine how fun that is.
We have had the opportunity to help with World Access Project for the last 2 years. Here's a link to some information about their project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYX7aXoDtfY
Richard Dennis is the founder of the organization. They bring wheelchairs to people in the area, teach them how to use them, put on a sports camp, and bring them to the Malecón. That's where we come in. We have our beach wheelchair at the Malecón and shuttle people to the beach. The first year that Sheri was in Vallarta by herself. She had help from some of our friends and was able to shuttle most people to the beach. The second year, Sheri was in the states and I (Terrie) was in Vallarta for the event. I recruited help from friends once again and also put the word out in the Facebook community. With the extra help, we were able to get people not only to the beach, but a few actually made it into the bay for a swim.
When it comes to paying it forward, I think these two pictures speak volumes. The young man, the picture speaks for itself. The older woman? It took almost an hour to convince her that it was not a burden or inconvenience to take her to the beach and that we didn't mind helping her from one chair to the other and back again. She had a wonderful time.
These are some examples of how your rental with Beach Crossers helps others. We appreciate your help in allowing us to do what we do.