It was wildly crowded. I'd asked a police officer to let me pass by the barricade because there was no other accessible entrance to the busker festival. We were all together celebrating Mike's birthday and were looking for a place to grab some street food. About a half block down I came to a halt because a performer was just beginning her set. The ring around her was three deep and allowed no possible, or so I thought, passageway through.
Everyone else was able to hop up onto the sidewalk and walk behind the crowd. I could not. I sat there trying to figure out something to do, other than to simply wait for her performance to be over. Then beside me a woman in a manual chair, along with a friend behind her, helping her navigate the crowd, came to a stop. She looked at me in frustration. She wanted to pass by too. I leaned over and said to her, "Follow me, I'll cut a path, stay right behind me." She smiled and said, "Your power chair is going to be the ice breaker, huh?" I nodded.
EXCUSE ME, I AM COMING THROUGH
The Louis St.-Laurent had nothing on me. People moved aside, unwillingly at first, annoyed at the bother, but when they saw me, and the woman behind me, with determined looks on our faces, they moved. I don't know how many thought we were simply pushy over-entitled people with disabilities and how many realized that there was no accessible option for us to pass, and, I don't care. We were polite, I always asked kindly. By the time we crossed in front of the performer, who was gracious, the other side of the crowd parted magically and we were through.
The woman thanked me. And I thanked her.
Had she not come along I don't know if I would have set to getting through with such determination.
Such is the fact that it is easier, way easier, to advocate for another than it is to advocate for oneself. I felt like I was doing this to get her through, the fact that I got through too was a side benefit of what I was doing. But that's true of advocacy for another too ... isn't it. A battle won is a battle won, for everyone.
Do you all experience the same thing - do you have an easier time speaking up or speaking out on behalf of another than you do for yourself?? I'm curious if this is a universal phenomenon. Tell me in the comments.