My dad traveled internationally fairly often when I was young. Upon his return, he would present souvenirs and regale me with tales of far away and places that I had only read about in books. The next decade of my life consisted of hopping around hotels on the East Coast seeing if I could make some stories of my own. The result? in general, arguably unsuccessful, but fun nonetheless. I think this was due, in part, to my father’s traveling to different places for work, as opposed to my frequenting the same places. Routine is wonderful, but so is variety. Thankfully, with a little help from Quantum, I was finally able to travel for work. I told my dad that I was a model now and that I had survived my first winter squall.
According to the GPS, Quantum’s headquarters was 2 hours and 15 minutes from my house, which meant that I had to wake up earlier than usual to make my appointment. I was asked to dress warmly for an outdoor photo shoot, so I chose a cable-knit sweater, ski pants and boots (this will be important later). Friend and transportation, Chris, arrived early, sporting a coat, sweater vest, dress shirt and pants. The snow had not yet fallen upon us. Two hours later, I saw the building through my window. I was here, but for what exactly?
The employee birthday lunch is a monthly event hosted by Quantum celebrating the birthdays of employees born each month. Each event includes a guest speaker, usually an end user like me, to share their thoughts and experiences about a Quantum product. While I’m generally opposed to speaking in front of large crowds and important people, I was happy to oblige for a group that has done so much for me in a short time. The majority of my talk was about my mom and how I walked her down the aisle at my sister’s wedding while elevated at iLevel®.
Following an unexpectedly lengthy applause, I was asked me if anything on the chair could be improved. My honest answer produced a direct reply, “We can fix that for you right now.” Any wheelchair owner knows that “right now” is a pipe dream, so I was surprised when I was brought into the test lab for immediate repairs. The lab itself was filled with gadgets and testing stations designed to create the best possible wheelchair. As far as my maintenance needs, virtually everything was fixed in under 45 minutes thanks to the Interactive Assist smartphone app. My chair was wirelessly connected via Bluetooth® and modifications and testing were completed simultaneously. It was around this time that I was told to go offsite for the photo shoot. At the same time, the entire eastern seaboard experienced the winter squall (aka snow tornado) warning text on their phones.
Thankfully, the squall was just touching down as Chris and I arrived at the Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den inside the Steamtown Marketplace in Scranton (no sign of the “Scranton Strangler” here). In light of the inclement weather, I suppose it’s better that our original venue, a ski lodge, was closed long before the announcement, although I would have appreciated the chance to dress in something more appropriate for the indoors. That said, the ability to see alligators and piranhas indoors, more than made up for the change of plans.
The aquarium is home to a variety of marine life and reptiles that is sure to excite patrons of all ages. My favorite was the piranha archway. The welcoming atmosphere and knowledgeable staff added to a great visual experience. I hope these feelings come across when the photos release. Apart from our aquatic adventure, it was a long and snowy drive back to New Jersey. Thank you to everyone at Quantum for making Chris and I feel at home, this journey was one that even made my dad jealous.
About Tim Shin: Tim lives in River Vale, NJ, and works as a communications manager for AbleThrive, a nonprofit organization. He enjoys food, fashion, music and television. Click here to learn more about Tim.