How the book ‘Letters to Sam’ changed the way I treat people in need (5A Chiu Sau Kit)


Good morning. Today I would like to introduce a book named Letters to Sam: a grandfather’s lessons on love, loss, and the gift of life” and tell you how the book has changed the way I treat people in need.  

The book was written by Gottlieb Daniel, who became a quadriplegic due to a car accident. The reason why he wrote this series of letters was the fear that he may not be able to see Sam, his grandson, reach adulthood. Moreover, Sam was diagnosed with autism, a kind of developmental disability. As the writer was also facing his physical constraints, he illustrated the problems he was facing or faced and how he overcame the difficulties.

The book has brought out some messages tremendously useful in our life and it covers some topics that every reader may encounter such as dealing with parents, handling bullies, falling in love, facing setbacks and coping with death. This book is useful in helping us to find the meaning of life, what we have to do and how to cope with different circumstances.

Therefore, how has the book changed the way I treat people in need? In the past, I was not aware of those suffering from all sorts of disabilities and whether they are in need at all. Sometimes, I may just directly walk away and even feel annoyed when the wheelchair is blocking my way. Also, when I saw someone who seem to have mental issues, I would think that they are weird and dangerous, so I refused to stay around them, not to mention understand them.

However, after I have read this book Letters to Sam, I realized that people with disabilities were facing different difficulties in their daily life. For example, people in wheelchairs cannot pick up things on the ground and some places are not accessible for them. What is more concerning is that they could feel the discrimination from others and they are sorry about bringing inconvenience to others. I am glad that I have come to understand more about what they are thinking and going through. I got enlightened that they did not choose to have disabilities or cause any trouble and they should be treated equally. I love this quote: “Nobody is perfect. Each of us has imperfections that make us different from anyone else.”

Now, I no longer think that the disabled are annoying me or hindering me. Every time I see them, I will be more alert to their needs and see if they need any help. Also, I have searched some information about people with disabilities so that I put myself into their shoes and offer them wherever necessary.

“Being compassionate not only feels good, not only helps us but will also make the world a kinder and safer place.” I have changed and I am sure you will also have a new perspective after reading this book. Thank you!