Y Magazine, a weekly publication in Oman which also has an online portal, shared today (February 26) the story of Khalid Al Sharji who drives his pickup truck around the Sultanate of Oman to look for People With Disability (PWDs) who could be needing a lesser-known but much-needed service that he has independently mastered over the years—getting their precious wheelchairs fixed.
Khalid learned the craft of fixing wheelchairs on his own years ago when he learned about his brother’s disability. When the wheelchair hero bought him one, Khalid was devastated to know that the thing that keeps his brother on moving won't last for long as it needed urgent maintenance.
Being a job-seeker, the young man couldn’t afford to pay for the repairment. “It was hard to watch my brother confined to his room,” Khalid said.
Out of Khalid's love and care for his bro, the 33-year-old defied the impossible by watching online tutorials on how to repair wheelchairs and the rest goes down in history. At the moment, Khalid offers his services to families across Oman as he travels across wilayats (provinces) to receive faulty wheelchairs, diagnose the problem, and fix it for dirt-cheap prices.
Oman's wheelchair hero sits for 3-6 hours in a shabby garage in Al Mudhaibi, a town in Al Sharqiyah, to repair the faulty wheeled gadgets.
“In Oman and the rest of the Middle East, any spare parts or maintenance will cost a wheelchair user at least RO250 (USD650),” he shared.
Wheelchairs don't usually come at a meager price. They can cost between RO500 (USD1300) to RO4,000 (USD10,400) with some A-list brands being sold for as high as RO8,000 (USD20,800). "Many families in Oman have more than two broken wheelchairs at home because they couldn’t afford the repairment cost,” Khalil added.
Asked if he would ever stop his wheelchair repair services once he finds a full-time job, Khalid said: “There’s no way I would ever stop doing this. Seeing the gratefulness in the eyes of wheelchair-users and their families is what keeps me going.”
With the current demand both in terms of population and the Middle East's unpredictable economy, it's indeed true that Khalid’s passion and goodwill have paid off. And with Oman’s aging headcount on an alarming rise, his services are more needed than ever.
We wish to see Qatar's own version of a 'wheelchair hero' real soon! If that happens, you'll read it FIRST here on ILoveQatar.Net for sure!
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(Cover image courtesy of Y Magazine)
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