Life on Wheels Is Fun Fun Fun

It was a perfect storm. I had traveled down to Austin, Texas from Tulsa, Oklahoma to meet up with some of my best friends. These were guys I've known for over 10 years that I had met doing a photography gig on the east coast, before I had my car accident that made me paraplegic. Four of us had just started working together remotely, and we were meeting up in person fro a work-and-play extended weekend. The owner of the company was contemplating moving to Austin at the time, so we were all going to check out the city for a few days with the possibility of everyone moving there.

While looking up some fun team bonding events, the boss's wife found a three-day music festival going on called Fun Fun Fun Fest. Yes, that's three "Funs." Our weekend plans seemed figured out. Looking back, I think it should have been called the Fun Fun Fun Fun Fest because I brought the Fun with me.

Well into the first night of the music festival, we headed over to a new stage where a punk rock band called The Descendants was playing. I had never heard of them until then, but they had a huge crowd and a lot of energy, so we went to check them out. Our group was watching the show from the sidelines. Personally, I've never really liked just watching from afar, so I wheeled myself into the middle of the crowd. I had heard of people who had crowd surfed in wheelchairs before, so I figured I'd give it a shot. What was the worst that could happen? I could end up in a wheelchair?

Brandon Stone wheelchair crowdsurfing at Fun Fun Fun Fest

So I looked around to the people surrounding me and started pointing up. It didn't take long for them to catch on, and a handful of strangers lifted me into the air, carried me forward, and set me & my wheelchair down on the stage front and center. There I was, on the stage with the lead singer, and he's putting the microphone in my face, attempting to get me to sing along. I didn't really have a plan, and I didn't know the lyrics so I just yelled some stuff as best I could while he yelled along with me. I knew I wasn't gonna make it, but I still faked it.

A few minutes later, he tipped off my cowboy hat into the crowd and sent me crowd surfing back from where I came. The band started to play a fast song, and the sea of hands and arms started to carry me towards the back of the crowd. I held on tight to my lightweight Quickie GTX as hard as I could — it felt like I had a death grip on the armrests. All I was thinking was, "If I can keep a hold of my wheelchair, and they drop me, there is still a chance I'll fall on my wheels and won't get terribly injured." But that thought soon passed; adrenaline was pumping through my body as quickly as water breaking through a levee. And then everything changed. I relaxed. I (metaphorically) let go. I felt elated. At that moment, it was pure bliss. There was no more fear, there was no disability, there was no wheelchair. It was just me, the crowd, and the music, all united as one.

After a few minutes, the crowd set me down towards the back. We continued the night, and everything was Fun Fun Fun. End of story. Or so I thought. The next morning, I got a text message from some new friends I had made the night before. "Brandon, have you seen the Facebook page of the Fun Fun Fun Fest? YOU ARE ON THE COVER PAGE!"

I had no idea what they were talking about, so I looked up the website. Lo and behold, the official festival photographer, Chad Wadsworth, had taken the most amazing photograph of my crowd surfing and I was on the cover of their page. I was ecstatic! Later that day when we returned to the festival, I was an instant celebrity. I got so many high-fives that day that I thought I was going to become the President of the International High-Five Committee!

The local Austin news did a short story about me and I became a legend. We didn't end up moving to Austin, but I'm sure I made my mark on the town. The biggest lesson I have learned from this experience is that even though we may sometimes feel alone, if you reach out, people will lift you up. The main thing is to ask, and even though it might be scary at first, if you push through regardless, you can possibly reap the reward of experiencing pure bliss.

About the Author

Brandon Stone

Brandon Stone is 35 years old and lives in Oklahoma. He likes rock music and anything soccer-related. Stone suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury in 2005 and has been a wheelchair user ever since. He enjoys going to concerts and spending time with friends. He's always eager to help others in need.

Most of the stories here on LiveQuickie.com were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.


Date: 1/12/2017 12:00:00 AM


Comments
Jenny Huerta
I am very proud of you for overcoming a tragedy..... You will give much hope that you can and won't let anything stop you from reaching new goals..............GOD BLESS YOU😍From ......HEBBRONVILLE,TEXAS--JENNY HUERTA SAYS............HELLO❣❣❣
1/13/2017 1:23:16 AM
 

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