It was September 17, 2012, my first birthday without my best friend, my hero, my rock, my Dad but thankfully my best friends didn’t want to let me sit around.
In between training clients at the metro D.C. gym where I work I noticed my co-worker giving a new member a tour of our fitness center. I saw this gentleman come in with a dog. Come to find out, my co-worker was giving, Tyler Kirk, a blind southern born and raised, attorney at the SEC a tour. She brought him towards me and I instantly went straight for the service pup Sailor. Yep, didn’t realize you cannot pet them. As I went to pet the dog, Tyler sternly said, I’m sorry ma’am you cannot pet him. So I backed off and just said hello. I was annoyed that I couldn’t touch the dog, but mainly taken back by how adorable Tyler was. A few weeks later, my coworker went on an “eat, pray, love” trip for two weeks and I had to work her night shift. That’s when it all started….
I was training my client and I heard the door open and I heard the jingle of a collar. Sam had warned me that Tyler usually comes in around 7pm and how he liked his “area” set up. So I got up and quickly walked over and brought him to the squat rack. I explained where things were, felt my cheeks getting red (I don’t know why) this was my job and I walked away. I couldn’t help but watch because I was nervous. Nervous at the fact this man is blind and about to workout. I watched him for two seconds and was intrigued. I saw how he maneuvered around, did his exercises and Sailor just sat there and slept. Each time he came in, I made a point to ask a question and he would answer without hesitation. What started as conversation about how do you do it? Where did you learn how to workout? Turned to, where are you from? What school did you go to? What do you like to do on the weekends? A month later, Tyler asked me to dinner. He took me to a little Italian restaurant for our first date. It was the cutest place, made me feel at home as I am from an off the boat Italian family. The conversation was easy and fun. The worst part was when the date was ending because I could have talked to him for days. While on this first date we were walking down the street and Tyler, as he says, “was looking blind”, wearing his sunglasses (at night) and holding his white cane. A guy came up and said, Hey, can you tell me how to get to “D Street”. Without hesitation, Tyler turned around, pointed and said you walk two blocks and you’ll come to a stop sign, pass the monocle and it’ll be right there. I stood there in awe as I had no idea where this place was and he, without hesitation, blurted it right out.
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KENNEDYJ . GILBERTSON THE PLATFORM MAGAZINE
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