For a while now, I’ve observed a fellow resident of the condominium where I live.

He’s unable to walk without support, and either uses two canes as a walking aid or simply lies down on a skateboard and drags himself around. Anyone who sees him may feel that he is struggling to do even the most basic tasks in life, like walking and getting around.

A sight like that may elicit pity from some people, but I’ve always found him inspiring. Even though he is often alone, he manages and gets on with life. Such resilience is admirable.

Some time ago, I witnessed an incident that has only raised my respect for him in leaps and bounds.

On Oct 22, I was at the playground with my child when it began to drizzle. Just as we were about to make our way indoors, I noticed that my neighbour was trying to save two birds that did not seem to be able to walk properly. They certainly couldn’t fly due to the rain.

One of the birds sought shelter from the rain by hiding under the vending machine. My neighbour held the other one with his hand and put it into a bag to give it some warmth.

All this while, he was lying flat on the ground, trying his best to save the birds. I approached him to ask if he needed my help, and he responded that he wanted to take the birds to see a vet but lamented that it would be difficult for him to do so.

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I offered to give ACRES a call, and he agreed. I found out that ACRES would need some time to arrive on the scene, but to my astonishment, my neighbour proceeded to lie on his stomach on a narrow boundary and held onto the bird for at least an hour as we waited.

Putting aside his own disability and discomfort, he was simply trying his best to save the bird. It was both shocking and touching for my family to see the determination this man had to help. He definitely taught us what it means to be a compassionate person.

Subsequently, we got a cardboard box for the bird where it could be well-covered, and have access to some food and water. And it was only on my assurance that we would care for the bird until ACRES arrived, that my neighbour decided to head home.

When ACRES came to the scene four hours later, both birds were breathing and alive. They were taken away after being assessed to have some eye infection. We hope that under their care, the birds will recover.

As for my neighbour, he has taught us a valuable lesson that I would like to share with everyone out there – that despite our own struggles and shortcomings, we can always find it in ourselves to be kind and compassionate.

Nisha Halan

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Top Image: Nisha Halan