Not every promise is easy to keep, even when they don’t sound particularly daunting. For instance, Miami-Dade Police Major Ricky Carter’s promise to his daughter, Jennifer, didn’t seem very challenging.
Carter told her he’d walk on her graduation, a vow that takes on poignant significance once you understand where he was a year ago.
On May 6, 2017, he was riding his Suzuki motorcycle on I-75, a stretch of interstate that links the southeastern and southwestern sections of the state.
Without warning, Carter’s motorcycle zipped off the highway and crashed into a guardrail. The horrifying accident devastated his body and left him unconscious for four days.
“I can recall waking up in a hospital bed and seeing broken arms, so I’m trying to move my legs under the covers and my legs aren’t cooperating with the moves I’m trying to make,” he told WTVJ. “So I lift off the covers and see that I don’t have any legs.”
Trying to figure out how the circumstances surrounding the accident proved almost as horrifying for the police veteran as his actual maiming. “That’s a highway that I drive so regularly,” Carter explained to WSVN.
“I’m traveling at very slow speeds. What are the odds? I don’t know why this happened.”
Still, Carter refused to let himself sink into despair. He decided he would walk with the aid of prosthetics and that he would do so by the time Jennifer received her diploma.
“How can I be the man that I wanted to be?” he recalled thinking. “I had no idea how I was going to do this.”
But he did do it through steady, stolid effort and a dogged determination to succeed. His recovery required nearly daily physical therapy sessions, and the mental struggle proved every bit as difficult as dealing with his legless body.
Learning to use his prostheses was “like learning how to walk all over again. At times, I feel like a toddler with my balance, trying to walk.”
Was all the pain worth it? Carter’s daughter certainly seemed to think so after she donned her cap and gown.
“Just a year ago, I didn’t think he would be here,” she said. “To see him stand again felt like old times. It was the best feeling ever.”
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