Thursday, 9 June 2011

No means No. #disability #awareness

This afternoon Dad and I went racing.  We were looking at the horses who were about to race when the sun went in and it got cold.  So I told Dad that I'd go inside the building next to where we were.

That involved wheeling over to the building and then up a relatively long ramp (luckily it had switchbacks in it so it wasn't too steep).  It wasn't the easiest thing I've wheeled up recently but I'm slowly trying to build up my strength in my chair so I stuck at it.

Partway up the ramp goes past an outside area where people can have drinks.  A man called over to me

"you alright, girl? Do you need some help?"

"No, thanks.  I'm fine, it just doesn't look like it." I replied.

"Sure?" he queried

"yes, sure.  It's good for me."

"It probably is.  I wish my [family member] had your attitude."


"[they've] just given up."

"Oh, I couldn't do that.  I've always been disabled so I don't know any different."

I forget what he said in response to that but our conversation ended there as I was past the bit where he was sat having a drink.  I was pleased by that conversation.

That ramp should probably be considered two because on one of the switchbacks you go into the building but then have to go straight up another bit to get to the facilities.

At the top of the ramp a steward was standing and saw me on the ramp wheeling up.  He spoke to me too.

"Can I give you a push?"

"No, I'm fine."

"it's no bother."

"really, I'm fine.  But I tell you what would be a help.  Could you open that door for me?" (I couldn't see it clearly but knew it was there)

"it's already open"

He then grabs the back of my chair over my protestations and wheels me approximately the last five metres of the ramp.  Which is basically no help and totally infuriating because he made a snap judgement that just because I'm in a chair I need help.

I'd love to meet more people like the first guy, that was a confidence boost for me.  I hope to meet very few people like the second!


Mary said...

As someone with several family members who class my using a wheelchair as "having given up" I'd be quite pissed off with the first chap too, although this in no way detracts from the steward physically assaulting you - which is how I would define grabbing you from behind and shoving you around despite your obvious distress and vocal protestations.

The Goldfish said...

I share Mary's concern about the first chap's family member - it could be that they've given up, it could be that they can't self-propel, or they're not well enough to get out.

However, I'd seriously consider reporting the steward to his employer. You don't need to make it personal, just say "one of your stewards" and hope they get a group talking-to to stop that stuff happening again.

Mobilityright said...

Because he is a steward he might have felt like he was supposed to do something, he maybe felt an obligation to help even though you didn't want the help that he offered.


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