Monday, 15 February 2016

Open Letter to Train Passengers


I don't use public transport that often. I have a car and I don't mind driving but if I have to do a lot of driving in one day, I'm absolutely screwed, I have a flare-up that can last days, if not weeks and then I'm an irritable bitch. Unfortunately, Ian can't drive so I don't have the luxury of being a passenger in my own car, just yet.

I have a Disabled Adults Railcard and thought travelling by train would be less stress, less tiresome and more relaxing....man, was I wrong.

Dear Train Passengers,

I recently travelled from Wellingborough to Nottingham with my boyfriend to visit my best friend. The train platform staff at Wellingborough were lovely and helpful, getting me on the train in my wheelchair, but there was no wheelchair space available. I had my crutches so it wasn't too much of a problem. However there were no seats at the end of the carriage we'd been placed on. But do you know what? The very first two seats are reserved for disabled passengers. I'm obviously unsure whether the passengers sat there were disabled and it's not my place to ask, but does anyone know if these seats can be reserved prior to travelling?

As my boyfriend was folding my wheelchair away, I struggled, and I mean really struggled making my way down the central aisle of the train to find an unoccupied seat. 

The amount of people that were sat next to their bag or looked up and quickly hid their faces away in their phones or books, as I agonisingly hobbled down the moving train was heartbreaking. Not only was I hurting so much I wanted to burst out crying, but I was having a horrible PoTS attack and felt like I was about to pass-out. Half-way down the carriage, a lovely older gentleman offered me his seat, but there was a vacant one behind him, so I took that and practically threw myself into a seated position. Relieved, exhausted, upset, and in pain, I wished I'd have drove.

I must have passed at least forty passengers before some amazing human said I could have their seat. My faith in humanity was shattered and restored in minutes. 

Do me a favour though train passengers, if you see a disabled person struggling to find a seat on a train, please offer yours. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to walk down to the next carriage to find an empty seat, and they'll be so bloody grateful of your act of kindness. It's difficult enough walking on crutches, let alone down a narrow space on a moving train. I know you're comfy and you don't have to move, but it could change that disabled persons day...and everyone feels good after doing something lovely for a stranger.

Please keep it in mind.

18 comments:

  1. Some people are so ignorant! I'm sorry you had that experience. I used to travel by train everyday (this was pre-illness days) and people's behaviour could be ridiculous. There was the "territorial" behaviour each morning as everyone tried to get positioned right on the platform so they had access to the doors first. There were the people who sat their bags on the inside seat and themselves on the outside, who would glare at you as if to say "don't even think about asking me to move!" So sadly, your experience doesn't surprise me :(

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    1. Not your fault, lovely. I've heard so many horrible tales too, it's so sad x

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  2. And then people say 'why can't you just take the bus/train/whathever', no thanks :)

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  3. Yes! I have had this sooooooo many times! The first time I plucked up the courage was on my way from Nuneaton to London. The train was packed & there were no seats available. Two Venture Scouts were sitting in the disabled seats, so I asked them if I could sit down. They looked at me confused, so I repeated my request. They ignored me as if I hadn't even said anything! I had to sit on the floor while passengers whispered "she says she's entitled to sit there" all around me. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I was so upset. They were all talking about me, but not one of them offered me their seat. To make matters worse, the mother of one of the boys was also their leader & sitting parallel to them! I ended up in so much pain, but I know it would have been much worse had I stood the 2+hr journey. Some people are extremely selfish. Xx

    Tania | whentaniatalks.com

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    1. Omg that is absolutely awful, I'm so sorry, Tan x

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  4. People are the worst. Especially if it's just their bag in the seat, which they should be moving for able-bodied people too! What a joke. I'm sorry this happened to you lovely xx

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  5. This resonates so much with me! I'm so sorry that you had to go through this and it's horrible that it's unfortunately a common problem on public transport.

    I suffer from CFS and fibromyalgia but to the outside world it's basically invisible. The other day I decided to take a trip to Nottingham with my boyfriend, even though I didn't feel great. It was admittedly a mistake as I felt awful the whole time and by the time we went to get the train home I had a migraine coming on, was in a lot of pain and felt very sick. There weren't any seats on the train and I instantly started to panic because I didn't think I could stand for the 40 minute journey. My boyfriend tried to calm me but I was in a lot of pain and I think it became quite visible to people around me as they began to look away from me. I started to cry and panic more and descended into a panic attack as I tried to stop from passing out. As I was panicking I just kept saying to my boyfriend 'I'm just in so much pain' and 'I can't do this'. There were a lot of people in the carriage and some sat on the fold down chairs in between and none showed any concern or offered me a seat, I was too distressed to ask, and they all just avoided my eyes. It was all in all a terrible journey and after my panic attack ended and I was curled on the dirty, wet carriage floor I just thought about how different it would have been had someone offered me a seat.

    Thank you for writing this post, I hope some people read it and think differently.

    Sarah
    http://sarahschapter.co.uk

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    1. I'm so sorry you had to go through that, Sarah, it sounds absolutely horrendous, sending all the hugs x

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  6. That's terrible, I'm so sorry you had to experience that. Different situation but I've had the same as a heavily pregnant woman - had to stand for the first half hour of my hour journey until someone got off. I didn't want to make a fuss but was in a lot of pain. The amount of quick lookaways and people pretending not to notice was really horrible. And I've seen the same for elderly people on buses as well - people just pretend not to notice.

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    1. It's so easy for people to make a quick judgement - sorry you went through that x

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  7. This is pretty awful! I can't stand people who put their bags on the chairs, and I can't believe you had to go so far down, never mind the fact that you were obviously in pain! I'm usually fine with making it clear someone can sit down next to me, but this is a reminder for me to be more careful with taking the disabled seats. I do so without thinking sometimes! Thanks for sharing xxx

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  8. Sounds familiar. I'm a power-wheelie & the number of times some utter prat has shoved their case or buggy in the chair space and/or the space labelled as turning space for it & just fucked off to the far end of the carriage or a totally different one & I can't go & get them to come back & move it... Not to mention the verbal abuse from older people when needing to use disabled seating on buses or trains, or from buggy owners who can't be arsed to shift out of the chair space on the bus... I'm sick of it. I completely sympathise with you. I have POTS, too. (Are you also a fellow bendy?)

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    1. Ohhh that is so annoying! I am, yeah, EDS Type 3 x

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  9. Oh no, that sounds awful! I'm sorry you went through that but glad there were a few helping hands about. I always accommodate those with disabilities, older people and those with young children on public transport as I know I'm able to stand for longer periods of time. It's just called being decent!

    Jenna
    | princessparasox.wordpress.com | bloglovin' |

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