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Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 1771
   Posted 10/26/2009 5:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Warning: This is a vent. :)

I'm going to start out by saying that I'm sure the lady was just trying to be helpful, but it does get old. Yesterday, I went to see the ballet. I was waiting in line outside the accessible bathroom because the regular bathrooms were down three very steep flights of stairs.

The lady in front of me kept turning around staring at me. Finally, she said, "You know that there are bathrooms downstairs, right?" I was a little stunned, and I replied, "Yes, but I can't walk up and down the stairs." She said, "Oh, I didn't know if you knew."

Like I said, I'm sure she was just trying to be helpful, but it was embarrassing in front of the other people in line. She was an older woman, but I would never assume that she was UNHEALTHY because of her age (she didn't have any mobility aids), just as she shouldn't have assumed I'm HEALTHY because of my age (I'm 40).

I would never make a comment to someone like that; I would consider it impolite. I'm probably hyper-sensitive, though, because of all of the stares and comments I've gotten in the past for using accessible seating, bathrooms, etc. I don't know, I probably shouldn't have even explained anything; I just should have answered, "Yes" and turned back around.

Oh well. Thanks for letting me vent. Have any of you had similar experiences, and if so, how did you handle it?

Hugs - Austen
"There is no charm equal to tenderness of  heart." - Jane Austen

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2858
   Posted 10/26/2009 6:35 AM (GMT -7)   

Hey Austen...I gimped into Walmart one day, pulled out a regular cart and the greeter lady said to me..."There are motorized carts available, you know."  I thanked her for the information and kept on going.  I know she was just trying to be helpful, but the motorized carts are in plain sight and if I wanted to use one....I would!  I just did my shopping wondering how incredibly crippled I must look to other people.  I didn't think I was that bad..LOL!  It kinda put a damper on my whole day.

And of course there's the old 'eye roll' when I use a handicap parking space and don't drag out a wheel chair or have someone holding me up by both elbows.  These people don't know that by the time I am done shopping I'm sometimes lucky if I can stand in the check out line.

Oh well.



fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 10/26/2009 8:36 AM (GMT -7)   
I wouldn't take it so personally. She was just trying to let you know there were more bathrooms. what if you really didn't know? I like to believe that most people are trying to be helpful and they don't mean to hurt or upset us.

So what if people stare or comment. You are using these tools to help yourself and that's the important thing. Some people are just ignorant and will make comments or stare no matter what happens. Sometimes we think people are looking at us when they really never even noticed that we exist.

I used to work with a boy that traveled in a motorized wheelchair. You could tell by looking at him that he needed the chair. You wouldn't believe the looks, eyerolls, and comments we received when he got on the city bus because they had to lower the ramp and strap his chair in. His mom told me that they got this treatment in so many places that they learned to laugh at it. People even snapped at her for using handicapped parking since there was nothing wrong with her so she should push his chair.

Then there are the people that would pat him on the head like a puppy and then ask me what was wrong with him. I'd just shrug my shoulders and tell them to ask him. He had a canned statement in his communication device and would tell people that there was nothing wrong with him. He has cerebral palsy and needs these things to help him get around and talk to people. Other than that, he's a normal 6th grader.

If someone that has the "props" and appearance of a handicapped person still gets the treatment, there isn't much you can do about. We can try to educate these people (and we should) but it looks like it will take a while.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 599
   Posted 10/27/2009 12:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Austen, that's a pretty good vent. I am a little sensitive lately too about stairs because I can't go up and down. I work on the second floor of a building that has an old slow elevator, which I am so happy to have. Last week I was walking in to work carrying my bag and a lunch bag and obviously limping. The receptionist in the downstairs office was training a new girl, and the new girl said, "Wow, there are a lot of people who take the elevator, I didn't know this building was so big." The regular receptionist said, loud enough for me to hear, 'Oh, no one on the second floor knows how to use the stairs." Also on our second floor is a kids' program with many disabled students. I thought this remark was so hurtful, not on my part but on theirs. All I could think was, I'm glad that is her problem, being so mean, not mine.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 10/26/2009 8:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I I think unless we are to walk around with no makeup no hair done and in are pajama's are people gonna look at us as having a illness. I hate that people say "well you dont look sick" arghhh that drives me Crazy. I feel for you totally.
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