The MV1 draws attention to itself. Even when people don't know what it is or what it does. Once driving through city traffic, a fellow in a pickup truck, wearing dusty work clothes with a hard hat beside him on the seat, call over to me to ask what it was. He'd never seen it before, thought it looked cool. That reaction is common. We've grown tired of the game of point out people who drive past us craning to look back at the front of the vehicle to see what it is. It looks cool, that's good.
When the MV1 is doing what it's designed to do, however, people are gobsmacked. Seeing the ramp come out and deploy itself perfectly, seeing the chair roll easily down the incline. Well, that's something else entirely. I'm very private about these things, or I thought I was, so we try to embark and disembark with some privacy. But, this time, I'd notice him notice the van from about half a block away. I realised I didn't care one whit if he watched or not. He was a 12 year old, at the most, young boy pushing himself along in his wheelchair. He was accompanied by several adults and a couple of other children round about his age.
His eyes went wide when he noticed, the other's hadn't yet, the ramp making it's way to the ground. I knew what he was seeing because I felt the same way when I first saw it. A cool car, not a chopped up and reconfigured van. He started to rush ahead, wanting, I know, to ask questions. Then he was noticed and others rushed to catch up to him. When he got to us, they were all with him, I was at the top of the ramp in my manual chair about to make my way down.
"What is it?" he asked, and before I could answer, I kid you not, the woman with him, I'm assuming and may be wrong, his mother, said, "Don't you speak to him." Now I thought it was the stranger, danger, thing, and though I'd quibble that most strangers are safer, statistically, than family members, I let it go. But then ... then! She said, "If you want to ask about the vehicle you ask," here she pointed to Joe, "you don't talk to other disabled people, you don't want to get into that habit."
OK, tomorrow, I'll tell you what happened next, but I want to hear what you think what we both, Joe and I, should have done or said.