Student Receives Unexpected Gift from Lehman’s Head Chef

Chef Hector Morales presents student Carlos Mieses with a motorized scooter.

Cafeteria head chef Hector Morales had two problems: the first was that a very close friend of his was dying and the second was that soon he would have to find a home for the brand new wheelchair mobility scooter that his friend would leave behind.

Student Carlos Mieses also had a problem. His wheelchair sometimes hampered his ability to multitask. One day while in the cafeteria, Chef Morales saw how Mieses struggled to balance his food on his lap while maneuvering his wheelchair.

“That’s when the light bulb went off in my head,” says Chef Morales. “I knew right then that he was the one to give the chair to.”

The scooter is bright red and features side view mirrors, headlights, and has honking and signaling capabilities. But its most prized feature is the basket in front that will allow Mieses to better manage his movements when shopping.

“It was such a surprise, and I never expected that a total stranger could be so generous,” says Mieses.

Being generous is nothing new for Chef Morales. “It’s just the way I am,” he explained. “If I see someone who is in need or if there’s anything that I can do to help, then I’m all in.”

Mieses is grateful to say the least. Almost four years ago he had a skiing accident that left him partially paralyzed. He now wears lower and upper prosthetics. Therapy has given him the ability to stand and walk, but only for short distances. At Lehman, he is taking prerequisite courses in exercise science with the goal of applying to master’s degree programs in occupational therapy.

“I became interested in occupational therapy because I want to help others like me reach their full potential,” explains Mieses. In this way, Mieses and Chef Morales are very much alike.