Her cart hit me in the shoulder. I was bending down (my power wheelchair has me sitting very high) to pick up some bananas and suddenly a grocery cart smacked into my shoulder. I looked up to see a woman flushed with impatience glaring at me. I knew she wanted me out of the way, and I would have moved if asked, but I get a 'screw you' attitude when people treat me as if I have no right in the thoroughfare. When she figured that I wasn't going to move she began to back up to go around the other way. Sensing a small but important victory, I sat up and pulled away. She saw a small space created and decided to head for it. She crashed into the side of my chair in her rush to get by, making a small tear in the bottom of my shirt as her cart caught and then tore through the material.
Just past me was an elderly woman with a walker. Some elderly people have faces that age well and they manage to look kindly, she was one of them. The cart woman pulled up beside her and said, in a heavily accented voice, 'Is there anything else you want?' The woman said 'No,' and they headed towards one of the line ups for a till. The elderly woman spotted a friend, also using a walker, and stopped for a moment to chat with her. The cart woman, obviously a hired aide of some kind, blew air out of her nose and a near rage filled her eyes. This was a woman in a hurry.
The elderly woman glanced over and a flicker of fear filled her face and she quickly said goodbye to her friend and got in line. Joe joined me and got in the line the next over. My chair is a wee bit too big for the aisle so I left the store and came round to where the check out tills let into the mall. We were only picking a few things up for baking and we'd intended just to put them in my wheelchair bag.
When the two women, elderly and aide, were coming through the elderly woman attempted to pick up the groceries to pack them into a bag. The aide slapped her hand away, actually slapped her had away and then quickly packed the bag. I wanted to go over and blast the aide, 'You are getting paid to do this, without this woman's need to fill, you'd have no job, no income, no way to feed yourself or your family'. I wanted to say, 'You can be seen, everyone knows that you are being mean, even cruel.' I wanted to say, 'Don't you ever hit her again or I'll bring the full force of the law down on you.'
But I didn't.
I'm a stranger.
And 5 minutes after the interaction she'd be alone with this woman.
They were almost done. I found a pen and a bit of paper (I'm a writer, they are never far from me) and wrote a note. In it I said, 'It's not OK for her to treat you badly. If she hurts you it is a crime. Call 911 directly. Don't go through the agency, call 911, directly. Here is my phone number if you need a witness for the police to talk to ..." I printed my name because no one can read my signature.
I approached them as they were leaving and handed the woman my note. She looked at me a little startled and then took it. 'Do you want me to take it for you,' asked the aide. The elderly woman, a face full of cleverness, said, 'No, dear, I'll just put it in my purse.'
I watched them walk away.
I'm expecting a call.