MILLVALE — Bob Norris zips down the bus’s metal ramp in his motorized Steelers wheelchair as his wife, Tina, emerges with a jolting gait.
Time for grocery shopping.
Her slender frame askew but confident, Tina marches through the Giant Eagle with a list of foods and prices on her mind.
Bob lingers in the aisles, hoping to chat up the friendly store manager. His slurred speech doesn’t prevent him from making new friends.
Tina traps a loaf of bread with the side of one hand and a curled wrist while Bob holds open a reusable grocery bag.
The couple then pauses in a corner as Tina roots through her turquoise purse. She hands three $20 bills to Bob and they start toward the cash registers.
It’s part of their system, designed not to delay other shoppers.
Each tries to fill the gaps where the other one falls short, doing their best, not always succeeding — just like any other couple.
They’ve been married for 22 years.
Their lasting marriage is not only distinguished because of the failure rate of marriages in general, but also because people who are disabled are practically given incentives not to make the commitment.
Many benefits from federal and state assistance programs for people with disabilities can be reduced or lost when they marry. To avoid that, some couples choose to live together unmarried.
That just wouldn’t do for Bob and Tina.