As the descendant of two prominent French families and director of one of the world’s most celebrated champagne houses, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was not someone in the habit of asking for help. Then, in 1993, right on the heels of his wife being diagnosed with a terminal illness, a paragliding accident left him a quadriplegic.
Passing his days hidden behind the high walls of his Paris townhouse, Philippe found himself the modern equivalent of an “untouchable”—unable to reach out to others, as others were afraid to reach out to him. The only person who seemed unaffected by Philippe’s condition was someone who had been marginalized his entire life—Abdel, the unemployed, uninhibited Algerian immigrant who would become his unlikely caretaker. In between dramas and jokes, he sustained Philippe’s life for the next ten years.
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