Robin Brown was grateful to be rescued by four members of North Cowichan’s South End fire hall after the elevator at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre brown down earlier this month. (Submitted by Charlotte Brown)

Robin Brown was grateful to be rescued by four members of North Cowichan’s South End fire hall after the elevator at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre brown down earlier this month. (Submitted by Charlotte Brown)

Sarah Simpson Column: What goes up must come down…sometimes with a little help

There is still good news out there if you’re willing to look for it

Robin Brown is a regular at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre.

The 47-year-old has used a wheelchair ever since a motorcycle accident at age 19. He uses both the pool and the gym facilities to work on his strength and mobility.

“The Aquatic Centre has been a huge, huge asset in his ability to get around and become more mobile even though he’s in his wheelchair,” his mom, Charlotte Brown, told me the other day.

She figured with all of the crummy news in the world these days, her son’s recent problem — or rather how it was solved — would make a good news story and I’m inclined to agree. So here is Robin’s story:

Earlier this month the elevator broke down in the Cowichan Aquatic Centre. Like many at the gym, including me after particularly difficult spin classes, the elevator is a luxury that isn’t at all required to get back downstairs. But for some, like Robin, it’s a necessity. So when the lift went out of service while Robin was working out upstairs one Friday afternoon, he found himself and his electric wheelchair stuck on the top floor.

Try as they might, the staff at the pool couldn’t get the elevator working.

“They said it would probably be the following Tuesday before it was operational again,” Charlotte explained.

For one reason or another, it seemed Robin didn’t want to spend the entire weekend stuck in the gym. He loves to work out, but not that much.

Once his caregiver alerted staff to the fact that he was, through no fault of his own, stuck upstairs, the Aquatic Centre staff sprang into action and called their friends at North Cowichan’s South End fire hall to help.

According to Charlotte, they’re heroes.

“Four of the fellows from the North Cowichan Fire Department came over and they had to transfer Robin out of his wheelchair, stand him up, remove the electric chair he was sitting on, and transfer him to the manual chair brought upstairs from the pool area,” she recounted.

They needed the manual chair from the pool deck because Robin’s own chair weighs in at more than 250 pounds and mighty as our firefighters are, carrying Robin and his chair down the stairs was too much.

“The crew was able to carry him to get him down to the main level, then they had to go back upstairs to get the electric chair,” Charlotte said. “It was not easy. It was very difficult. It was a heavy lift for the four of them because two were going down backwards, and the two at the back of the chair were leaning forwards over the chair. It was a lot of work for them but they did an excellent job.”

When all was said and done and Robin was reunited with his own wheelchair on the first floor, cheers erupted in the lobby. Then, the firefighters left just as quickly as they had arrived.

Charlotte gives her thanks to both the Aquatic Centre staff and to the firefighters.

“They made sure Robin didn’t get stuck up there the entire weekend,” she said. “It was a good news story.”

As for Robin, after spending eight months in a coma and five years in the hospital system before he was able to move back home with the help of caregivers, getting stuck on the second floor of a building for a little while was no big deal. But for his loving mother, to know her son is well taken care of and to be able to acknowledge the helpers in their lives.. well, it’s everything.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ColumnistComedy and Humour