A few weeks ago we received an email from Matt Carroll of Woburn, MA. He’d found a letter that his mother, Roberta, had written four years ago to BraunAbility thanking us for the driving freedom her Chrysler Entervan had given her. The first line of her letter captured her gratitude for her mobility perfectly:
“Magic Carpet is what I have named my vehicle.”
We wanted to hear a little more about Roberta, so we contacted Matt, who shared that his mother had passed away four years ago (not long after she’d written her letter to us). She was a “tough, no-nonsense go-getter”, he said, and had raised her six children on her own by working as a waitress. But, as Matt remembers, the family always shared plenty of food and plenty of laughs.
Roberta had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and getting in and out of her car was getting harder and harder. A niece gave her a brochure for Ride-Away, a BraunAbility dealer in Londonberry, NH. When Roberta saw a wheelchair van in person for the first time, she was amazed: “To me it was more than just innovation; it was a miracle.”
When Roberta saw a wheelchair van in person for the first time, she was amazed: “To me it was more than just innovation; it was a miracle.”
Her “Magic Carpet” carried her to movies, theaters, restaurants, family gatherings and the senior center. When she became weaker from COPD, she shared a house with her son Matt and his wife. But even in the worst of winter when her health was failing she’d tell Matt to shovel a path to her van. “And I just did what I was told,” he said.
Roberta took any excuse to take her accessible van out and run errands. Sometimes she and her son would travel to the ocean where she could roll right out onto the boardwalk and into the ocean air. “Her van was her freedom,” wrote Matt.
Roberta drove the van up until a few days before she passed away at the age of 72. As she wrote in her letter, she loved to show off her wheelchair van to others, especially how easily she maneuvered in and out. She closed with a personal message to our founder: “A special thanks to Ralph Braun for his ingenuity and perseverance in the development of these innovations, which have enriched not only his own life but thousands of others as well.”
Thank you to Matt for sharing the words of his mother, who was undoubtedly a phenomenally strong and admirable woman. We’ll be using those two words – Magic Carpet – to describe BraunAbility solutions for years to come.
Sarena Wahl is a friend of BraunAbility and will help us share stories about our customers, our dealers and our industry from time to time.