Joe knows I don't like to have an audience when I'm getting in and out of the vehicle so he just positioned himself in front of the man. Joe's job is to ensure I stay straight on the ramp and come off without disaster. The fellow then moved over, smiled at me, and said, "I want to watch you come down the ramp." I was now teetering at the top. I saw there was no malice in him, but he was staring at me intensely, uncomfortably.
I said, "This is kind of private for me and I would rather you didn't watch."
He got very defensive and said, "I'm not doing anything, I'm just watching."
In the kindest voice I could muster I said, "I know, I know you are just watching. But sometimes people don't want to be watched and most times people don't want to be stared at."
"Oh, Oh, Oh, OK." he said and stepped over to the side, out of my view.I came down the ramp and Joe flung my scarf over my shoulders and I was putting on my gloves which I hadn't realised that Joe had kept warm by placing under the floor heater of the car. Lovely.
He appeared again. He said, "Thank you for telling me to move, thank you for telling me not to stare at you. I keep upsetting people and I never know why. I wish people would tell me when I do something that makes them mad."
I reassured him I wasn't mad. I also suggested to him that it wasn't people's job to let him know how they are reacting to him. I asked him if they seem to get mad when he's watching or staring. He paused and said, "Yes." "Then ....?" I asked. "I shouldn't stare." I told him that's a good idea.
I asked him if he had support staff and if they had talked to him about staring at and watching people. He said they had. Then he said, "But they are on my back about everything, I thought that it was just another thing to bug me about. It was different for you to say it. You're just ..." Then he was lost for a way to describe me. Finally he said, "You're just THE PUBLIC."
I laughed and said that I was. We said goodbye, I wished him well. He was a nice guy - and I hope that he learned something today. I know I did.