Sunday, April 25, 2010
common sense vs etiquette
While grocery shopping I found myself in a frozen food aisle with other shoppers including a man in a wheelchair. I overheard the guy in the wheelchair rebuff at least two offers of help, with “I did not ask for help”.
As our shopping brought us adjacent, I observed him struggling to try and keep a door open with one arm, balance his basket on his lap with the other arm, and what … reach in with a third arm?
So I just reached over and held the door open. As his head pivoted in surprise, our eyes locked, and before he could say anything, I remarked, “I did not ask if you wanted help!” With a begrudging chuckle he reached in with his now freed arm retrieved his frozen foods and rolled away.
As an able bodied able minded person looking for rules of wheelchair or disability etiquette you may not even be looking in the same universe.
Each person facing loss of independence, or an adaptive life, or even just the probability of a dependent future is going to react differently.
Nor is transitioning to and from independence and dependence exclusive to disability or illness, try raising a teenager or young adult.
How many times entering or exiting a building have you simply held the door for someone behind you or someone struggling with their arms full? Did you ask them first if they needed help? I doubt it, likely you just did it because it made sense.
While I can urge you to try to see the person not the disability for all I know my fellow shopper could have started throwing frozen vegetables at me.
Sometimes you just have to risk common sense over any search for etiquette.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site: http://caregivinglyyours.com/
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