Skip to main content

Senior overcomes adversity through remarkable morning routine


Although Bert Arnold has always woken up before the sun, it wasn’t until recently that he really noticed it rise.

“I wouldn’t relax until the day was over,” Bert says. “It was always a constant battle to climb the ladder.”

But after decades of running his own businesses, the workaholic lost his leg to diabetes, and found himself in a deep depression.

“I got down on myself pretty hard,” Bert says.

After a lifetime of defining himself by being self-reliant, Bert suddenly couldn’t drive, couldn’t secure a wheelchair-accessible apartment and couldn’t find the strength to visit with anyone.

“I didn’t want to be here any more,” Bert admits.

But then, early one morning, in an attempt to clear his head, Bert felt compelled to wheel his way to the ocean.

“I just had to find something to fill my time,” Bert recalls. “And I didn’t know how.”

So Bert simply started rolling his wheelchair along a waterfront pathway, silently observing how the sunrise illuminated his surroundings.

The next day he did the same thing, wheeling a little further, noticing how the crows seemed to greet him along the way.

“They inspire me to come down here,” Bert says.

The following days, Bert shared snacks with both the birds and passing dogs, and found himself rolling forward for hours.

“And then it took over,” Bert smiles. “And I’m happy as a clam now.”

Now — more than a year later — the 70-year-old begins every morning fuelled by the rising sun.

“It’s stunning every time,” Burt smiles.

Then he wheels his chair more than 20 kilometres a day.

“Now my life is full again,” Bert smiles.

Full with making human friends, greeting furry ones and maintaining those feathered ones.

“I don’t even care if I do anything else,” Bert says. “This is all I want to do.”

And then Bert turns from the sunrise shining on his face to wheel his way towards a rainbow that’s formed over the path he’ll wheel his chair along.

“Wow!” Bert beams. “This is what life is all about!”

Rather than searching for satisfaction by climbing up a ladder, Bert says if you take the time to notice the rainbows, you just might find something far more rewarding than gold.

“It is without a doubt the happiest I’ve ever been.” Top Stories


OPINION Advice on dealing with 'quiet hiring' in the workplace

In a column for, personal finance writer Christopher Liew tackles 'quiet hiring' -- a term referring to companies that quietly hire from their own talent pool rather than look elsewhere -- and outlines some tips for employees on how to take advantage of the practice.

These are the 5 headlines you should read this morning

Forty-one workers are rescued from a collapsed tunnel in India, a Liberal MP apologizes for linking the Conservative leader to shootings in Winnipeg and a town's residents will vote on Pride crosswalks. Here's what you need to know to start your day.

Stay Connected