If you aren’t listening to the StoryCorps podcast on a regular basis, you are missing the opportunity to learn about ordinary people who have extraordinary stories.
Episode #362 is titled My Three Sons, and it briefly tells the story of three 14-year-old triplets named Leo, Nick and Steven who were born blind. Their mother, who was single, had a difficult time caring for them and rarely allowed them to leave their home. When a neighbor named Ollie, who is also blind, heard about their situation, he knocked on their door to reach out to them.
In this episode (which in only three minutes and forty-five seconds long), Ollie talks to the brothers about being bullied, about hearing children playing nearby but not being able to play with them and then he talks to them about the relationship they built with him.
When Ollie first introduced himself, the brothers had a hard time believing he was blind, too. They put him to the test – first by feeling his walking cane, then by bringing him a Bible in braille and placing his hand on it, telling him to read it to them. He passed both tests.
“This made me feel like I had a person that I could trust, because I didn’t trust anyone,” says one of the brothers.
Ollie began teaching them how to use their canes better and taking them to the corner store. One day, the clerk asked Ollie if Leo was her son.
“Before I could answer, you put your arm around me,” Ollie says, speaking to Leo, “and you said, ‘Yeah, it’s my dad.’”
“I said, ‘Do you know what that means?”
“You said, ‘Well, you take us places, you protect us, you help us with our homework – sounds like a dad to me.’”
“Whenever I hear you call me dad, it’s the highest compliment to me.”
Hearing that, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that Ollie is in the process of formally adopting the three brothers. [You can listen to the full story by clicking the orange play button on the podcast above.]
Survivors of all stripes have the opportunity to throw lifelines into their communities to help others survive – to offer practical advice, a sympathetic and loving ear, and ultimately, hope. All we have to do is be sensitive to the needs of others, and then knock on their doors.