He lost his left leg well above the knee six or seven years ago in a motorcycle accident. As he put it, the bumper of the car that hit him (and the jeans he was wearing at the time) went through his femur. Younger than me, maybe in his mid-thirties, he's very fit-looking, his muscled arms bearing the kind of tattoos that made me wonder if perhaps he'd lost his leg while in the military when I first noticed him standing near me in the hallway.
He spent six months in a wheelchair after the accident. During this time, his ex-wife left him. He now has his kids only eight days a month and desperately wishes it were more. Remarried to a psychiatric nurse, he hopes for more children someday and has taken up meditation and tai chi to help him deal with the physical pain that is a permanent legacy of the accident, since he does not want to go the pharmaceutical route.
I'd never laid eyes on the man before that conversation, and I didn't start it. I certainly didn't ask any personal questions. I may not ever even see him again, who knows. But I am convinced that the universe intends for me to listen to people who need to talk and I've come to consider that an honor.