35 Soda Bottle Leg

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When I worked near Bryant Park, there was always a guy at 43rd and 6th Ave asking for change on my lunch break.

He was a veteran in a wheel chair, and there were two long poles that he connected to his chair, from which he flew the American and Puerto Rican flag. Some days he would have his dogs with him, and other times he would have other vet friends to keep him company.

Most people walking by saw this guy every day, and some would stop to chat or just pet his dogs. He was a nice guy; always smiling and cordial

This vet was also missing a foot.

A lot of the times he would just have his leg wrapped up, but every once in a while, he would turn over a traffic cone and wear it on his stump. Sometimes he would use the cone to move himself around, and other times it just sat there proudly on his leg.

I always got a kick out of this, as although it’s not ideal, he seemed to enjoy his choice and the attention it brought. However, one day I turned the corner and saw that he had cut the bottom off a two liter bottle of Pepsi and was wearing it on his leg. He was using the spout of the bottle to wheel himself around, and the sound of plastic dragging on concrete followed him.

I couldn’t stop laughing. He looked like some kind of peg leg pirate.

I haven’t seen him since 2009, but I hope he is still there, brightening everyone’s day.


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