Thu, Jan 04, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Taichung driver returns to work after paralysis

MOBILITY:A passenger suggested to the Taichung taxi driver that he apply for government funding to upgrade his taxi and make it easier for him to move

By Su Meng-chuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taxi driver Lin Tung-feng sits in his modified cab in Taichung on Dec. 18.

Photo: Su Men-chuang, Taipei Times

A Taichung man who was paralyzed following an accident six years ago has returned to work, driving a modified vehicle so he can support his family by driving a taxi.

Lin Tung-feng (林東鋒), 50, said he was not ready to retire when he lost the use of his legs in the accident.

Lin, who had been a professional driver for most of his life, driving trucks, tour buses and construction vehicles, was severely injured when a forklift he was driving overturned when its load became unbalanced.

The toppled forklift crushed part of his spinal cord.

When a doctor said that he would never stand on his own again, his first thought was for his wife and son who relied on him, Lin said.

After the accident, Lin spent five years undergoing rehabilitation before deciding last year to start work again, he said.

Lin purchased a second-hand taxi and had it modified so that the brakes and accelerator are controlled by hand.

After receiving his taxi license Lin started taking fares.

Getting into the vehicle is a challenge, Lin said, adding that his wife helps him every morning.

A design engineer advised Lin to apply for mobility aids through the city’s Labor Affairs Bureau, which has helped him improve his range of movement within the taxi.

Motorized controls for the driver seat and a cruise control system have been installed in the front passenger seat, Lin said.

Most passengers do not even notice his paralysis, Lin said.

However, some people slam the door when he fails to get out and help with luggage, he added.

“When I explain my situation to them they usually get embarrassed and apologize, and even offer words of encouragement,” Lin said. “Eighty percent to 90 percent of customers offer encouragement, and it gives me strength to push on.”

Lin said he is grateful to the Taichung City Government for its help.

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