I'm first to call-out injustice, crap accessibility, ableism and ignorance. As a disabled person, I experience negativity a lot and it's really difficult. But I wanted to dedicate this post to the other side of that, I want to tip my hat and wheel spin to those people that are considerate, that do help disabled people, and are often overlooked.
A lot of the times, in all aspects of life, it's really easy to forget the small acts of kindness that take place on a daily basis. They're usually not that monumental because they're so commonplace that you forget they happen; someone holds a door for you, gives you a compliment, pulls out your chair etc.
But when it comes to disability, I try to remember (who am I kidding, I write them down in my phone as my memory is absolutely awful) when someone has gone out of their way to help me out. It's probably a non-subject to these lovely people, they've most likely done something they'd do for anyone but for this disabled person, it was a big deal and it made me regain a little bit of faith in humanity.
I thought I'd just share a few things that have happened recently that made me smile and thank these strangers for their kindness.
- The man on the train
I was travelling to London and was in the wheelchair space. My boyfriend was with me but was sat across the aisle listening to music so I could have been potentially on my own. Anyway, as we were pulling into St Pancras the man asked if I needed him to get anyone to help me off the train, or was there any way in which he could help. I thanked him for offering and told him someone would be meeting me. I've been on a lot of train journeys and nobody has ever asked me if I needed any help before. I thought it was a really lovely gesture and appreciated it so much.
- The woman on the train
On the way home from St Pancras, we got on a smaller train and the carriage wasn't wide enough for my wheelchair. I luckily had my crutches and it was only a few steps to the disabled seats, however they were occupied. As soon as the woman that was sat there saw me, she instantly picked up her belongings and moved a few rows behind. I thanked her profusely and she told me, 'it was absolutely fine.' So thankful.
- The receptionist at my doctors surgery
At my GP surgery the receptionist counters are obnoxiously high, if you're under five feet there's absolutely no way of being able to see the receptionist that you're talking to. And being in a wheelchair means I usually end up talking to a piece of wood. To the left of the main counter there's a lower counter with a window, but none of the staff sit there. However there is always a lovely receptionist that gets up from her seat and takes me around to the lower counter every time, so she can actually see me and I can see her when I book in/pick up prescription etc. This makes me feel like I matter and I always hope she's at work whenever I go to my doctors.
- The shop assistant at Sayers
I recently spent a week up north with my family, and after picking my 4 year old nephew up from nursery we went to get some lunch. I had my backpack hanging off the back of my wheelchair and it's quite difficult to get into without help. My nephew is a great little assistant but he's not very skilled at packing. After we ordered drinks, cakes, and a pasty, the shop assistant asked me if I wanted help putting everything in my bag. She came out from behind the counter, showed my nephew how to put everything in my bag, zipped it up and didn't blink. I was extremely grateful; she was not only really lovely to me but she was great with Kaine.
- The woman on the street
The same day as above, I took Kaine to the park after lunch and as we were walking/wheeling home he needed a drink. His bottle was in my backpack which he could retrieve but he couldn't zip the bag back up. A woman was walking towards us and I asked if she could help. My actual words were, 'I realise this is a strange request, but could you possibly help the little guy close my bag, please?' She checked my nephew had closed the lid on his drink and fastened my backpack. I never usually ask for help, especially when it's a complete stranger, so not only was this a big achievement for me, but it was received with such warmth and politeness. Hopefully I encounter more lovely people like that woman in the future.
- The shop assistant at Costco
I went to Costco with my brother and my nephew (the kid doesn't leave me alone) whilst I was at home, and after wandering around the store I needed the toilet. Of course, Kaine came with me and when we got to the disabled toilet neither of us could open it as the door was too heavy. Little bud pulled at it as much as he could but we simply couldn't get it open enough for me to wheel into. Luckily a store assistant was going to the toilets and held the door for us. She also asked if I'd need help once I'd used the bathroom, which I did. So she went to the cubicles, and Kaine and I had a wee, as I was washing my hands she knocked on the door to say she was back and would wait for us until we needed her. I found this extremely kind and couldn't thank her enough for her help.