Today I had class down on Wreck Beach (UBC). We took Trail 3 down, a 15ish minute wooden staircase, like the Grouse Grind … but 15ish minutes. The beach was the classroom and the ocean waves the chalkboard board:
We played with cute little crabs while surveying the area for abundance of wildlife for research to make sure populations were healthy, thus meaning the environment was doing well. (The second crab looks angry that I disturbed its sleep with the crossed arms and angry stare).
Going up Trail 3 was exciting. Hiking for class! Yay!! I was one of the first to trek up the stairs. After less than 5 minutes I started to feel breathless and tired. Physically I wanted to feel the burn of a good workout and continued. Also I didn’t want to be left behind by my classmates thus trudged on at a slower pace. Eventually me, who was at the start of the hiking classmate crowd slipped to the back of the line and I needed to break more often and reduce my pace.
I was having some trouble breathing which I brushed off as the increase off need for oxygen in the muscles. Suddenly a classmate whom I’ve never talked to or knew the name of noticed I was lagging behind and asked if I was alright. He encouraged me to take my own pace and time while offering to help carry my backpack (which was extremely reliving due to my brick of a laptop). While on the slow way up, this stranger encouraged me not to push myself and do things at my own pace no matter how long it took while talking about when he was in air cadets they learned to stick together and to help the weaker members out. He firmly believed that it was important to help those who cannot help themselves. He even made a walking cane out a a stick lying around to assist me.
Near the top I really couldn’t breathe and started wheezing for breath. It was hard to talk and breath. It felt like my lungs were constricted. Having had asthma attacks before as a kid, I realized what was going on. It was hard not to cry and panic, because that would make things worse. But it was scary not being able to breathe and drowning on land. The entire time, the classmate was patient and so incredibly helpful. I think without their help, presence, and encouragement I would have collapsed due to lack of air and lost consciousness. I closed my eyes and tried to calm down and breathe. My lungs opened after a minute or so but it felt like forever. Then we continued the way up slowly.
When we were back at UBC campus, I honestly and sincerely thanked the classmate and we parted ways. He said it was really no big deal, but honestly to me it was. I don’t think I would have made it without his kindness and help. I was a pessimist who thought the world is a selfish place, stranger danger, and nice people only want to take advantage of you. Today a stranger approached me and changed my views on humanity. I will see him in class again next week and I wish I could thank him or pay him back, but some things/ events like today as I learned, is not a transaction or a trade. It is just the unselfish kindness of one human being to another. I hope I can be friends with him and learn how to be such a generous and kind person.
In an different note: time to get that sudden asthma checked out 😦