I was touched by the story of a guy profiled in the news a few weeks ago. He’s close to my age, he lives in my hometown, but there’s one big difference between us: about 280 pounds. Not to mention he has been diagnosed with depression and lost both his job and his marriage in the past few years. But Leslie Duff wants to get healthier and seems determined to do it.
Yet according to the news story that first broke back in May, his injured knees meant that the best way for him to get in shape was in a pool. And because of his obesity, he found he was too self-conscious in a public place to focus on his fitness regime.
I admire Leslie’s tenacity. He decided to post an ad on Kijiji seeking use of a privately owned pool in exchange for free pool cleaning or other yard work. Problem was, no one responded.
I remember reading about his struggle, and feeling particularly bad about one of his theories as to why he hadn’t heard from anyone. According to the article, Leslie thought some people might be “turned off” having an obese guy in their private pool.
Can we as a society really be so shallow? (No pun intended.)
Fortunately, there’s been an update. After Leslie’s plight became more public, including a radio interview on CBC, he got hundreds of messages from people offering access to their pools – or simply wishing him well. One family in particular was moved by his story, calling him “a really resourceful individual who’s looking to improve himself.” So they’ve invited him to use their indoor pool on a regular basis – he’s started losing weight already. And he’s cleaning the pool as promised.
The wife added, “You do what you can to help people out… why not?”
“Why not?” Best reason ever to reach out and do a good deed.