An 82-year-old man resolved a long-standing argument with officials in his small Spanish town last week, after taking matters into their own hands and building a public bench so his ailing wife can rest on their daily walks.
Manuel Souto and his wife Maria, 79, had pleaded with councilors for a year to set up a bench along their morning drive through A Estrada, a small town in northeastern Spain. The Soutos drive the road every day, but Maria’s osteoarthritis made the journey more and more difficult, and she had nowhere to sit and rest along the way.
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Manuel finally gave up on asking the city to fix the problem. He found a store along the road that would give him space for the bench. Then he bought some wood and went to work.
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“The bench took me about half an hour,” the former tourist told La Voz de Galicia newspaper. “It was just a matter of sawing and nailing, and I was done almost right away. “
Manuel set up the bench overnight and surprised Maria the next morning on their walk.
“I got a kiss and a hug,” he told Spanish store Nius. “She was thrilled. “
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He recognized that the bench is not much to look at and that he probably could have sanded and varnished it before putting it in place.
However, he’s just glad his wife has a place to rest now.
“It’s not very luxurious, but it’s comfortable and safe,” he said.
Souto also included a handwritten inscription on the bench, in what could be read as a hazy shot of the city council in slow motion.
“Respecten Para Mallores,” says the inscription. “Respect for the elderly. “
Many have pointed out that the last word is misspelled and should read “Mayores,” but Souto says he’s okay with the mistake.
“I didn’t go to school,” he told Nius. “I started working when I was a kid and I’ve worked my whole life, just like my wife. The poor never stopped working.
He added that the residents were very supportive of his project.
“Some neighbors called me to make another one, but I already told them no,” he said.
“I made this one exclusively for my wife. “