I just wanted to blog a bit about a couple of incidents regarding disabled persons that I had come upon. One was heart warming and encouraging while the other was somewhat unsettling.
A few days ago while in the mall ( one of my least favorite places to be )I came upon a small group of handicapped adults that were being supervised by a couple of very patient and assisting helpers. One of the group, a young man possibly autistic was having trouble getting on the escalator. He was afraid to get on the moving stairs to go down. This is something that I have had first hand experience with as my son Kyle is also very frightened of them. Things that are easy for most of us are not so easy for him. He feels that he will fall down because his sense of balance and coordination is not that good and so the idea stepping onto stairs that are moving while looking down to the bottom is very scary for him. His fear is so great and overwhelming that there is no coaxing him on, and yet at the same time I can see he feels bad about disappointing me. I reassure him that it is ok and we can take the elevator. He is glad.
I could see the situation with this young man was very much the same. The assistant apologized to everyone waiting and let them go ahead. She did not try to force him or make him feel bad about himself. I stood around to see how it was handled and eventually they led him off to the elevator. I was really impressed at how calm and understanding the assistants were and it made me happy that this young man was in good hands.
My second incident was not so encouraging. A day later while on the bus there was a very large woman standing behind her wheelchair waiting to board the bus. The bus pulled in to the stop where there was a large crowd waiting to get on. The driver first opened the rear door to deploy the wheelchair lift to board the woman with the wheelchair before the other passengers which is proper procedure. As the lift was coming down and the woman was standing behind her chair waiting some people in the crowd started to yell " you phony, you don't need no wheelchair you fake ". She grew very upset with this taunting and after telling them to leave her alone she looked like she was about to cry. Some people are so ignorant that it just angers me to no end. Not everyone who has a wheelchair needs to be sitting in it all the time. As in her case, it may be that because of her weight and condition of her legs and/or feet she might only need the chair with her when she travels so she can sit down and take a load off her legs when she feels the need. She may not be able to stand for too long and so needs the chair with her when she goes out. She certainly does not need to be taunted and called names. I mean, if she were trying to put something over on everyone she would sit in the chair and pretend. She might be better off doing that anyway just to shut everyone up, but I suspect she does not because it is very difficult for her to maneuver the chair on to the lift while sitting in it. I'm not saying there are no fakes out there but I'm no doctor and am not going to lay judgement on anyones condition.
Some people just need to shut the %@?k up.