July 26, 2011 | |
Having this injury has definitely given me a different perspective on how people treat people with different abilities. I went to the grocery store to try to have some sense of normalcy in my life. The closest store has underground parking (I live in the city) where handicapped parking is garaged but far from the front door and the motorized shopping carts are chained-up or dead. After several minutes of watching the cart guy pass me as I’m obviously on crutches I was able to get his attention by waving my crutch in the air and asked him to help me grab a cart with a functional basket. I sat in the cart. It was covered in garage soot and only God knows what. I learned how to go forward and backward and learned to stay seated when it stopped then pitched forward.
Oh the looks and stares of “please don’t come my way because I don’t want to move” were overwhelming.
Sitting in the cart I realized that various sections — such as the produce bins and shelves were much higher than I could reach. Fortunately I was able to stand on one leg to get what I needed but what about the person who can’t stand up? How do they get the fresh produce on the upper shelves? The lanes were wide but other shoppers were rude. I found myself waiting for shoppers to finish conversations among themselves before they would move their baskets to let me get by. Store staff who were stacking produce didn’t offer assistance but would look at me hard because my presence caused them to have to move their flats out of the way.
I felt challenged when I had to maneuver between a stack of soda and charcoal to get by because that aile was narrowed by promotional end-caps.
I now have a new perspective on being handicapped. I will no longer walk by a person in the store or wherever and not ask if they need assistance or ask if they would like company while they shopped to help out. When I heal from this injury, I will find an organization where I can volunteer my time, my reach and my legs.
Just a thought…