Thursday, December 12, 2013

Next Time

He seemed nice at first. He was pushing a grocery cart full of items to be stocked onto a shelf. He saw me come into the store and veered over to say hello to me. I was in my power wheelchair and I thought he'd just wanted to say 'hey' disabled person to disabled person. I was almost charmed by the gesture. I went about my business in the store and began noticing him often in the same aisle as me, with his cart, looking at me. After this happened three or four times, I began to get a little creeped out by him. He never stood close enough to me so I could speak to him quietly and ask him what was up or ask him to stop. I would have had to call to him loudly. His intellectual disability already centred him out, I didn't want my behaviour to add to it.


I turned an aisle and he was right there, he came at me with his cart, missing me by inches and on his way by he said something absolutely brutal and cruel to me about my weight and my disability. I was stunned breathless by the hurt and the surprise. I sat on the spot for a minute or two and then continued on my way. Thoughts raced through my head. I thought about speaking to the manager. But then, I knew if I did he'd probably lose his job. It's Christmastime do I want someone to lose their job at Christmas. He has an intellectual disability and it was probably hard enough for him to get this job, let alone another one.

Thoughts changed tracks, but raced along at breakneck speeds. I'm tired. I don't want to have to call a manager. I don't want to always have to be doing this kind of things. I'm tired. I don't want the emotion that will come from all of this. I'm tired. I haven't been home in days, I don't want to be bothered with this.

Thoughts. What he did was horrible. He hurt me. He scared me. This behaviour is unacceptable. If he was non disabled I wouldn't stand for it or question what I would do. BUT. I'm tired.

I didn't do anything.

I didn't report him.

I didn't write the manager of the store later to express my upset.

I let it go.

And I was wrong. Completely wrong.

Tired or not. Disabled or not. He verbally abused me - and scared me along the way. This behaviour is simply not acceptable. Who knows who he's going to approach next time? 

And there will be a next time.

He is the only person responsible for his behaviour.

And I'm responsible for mine - I will bear some of the blame for what happens ... next time.


Anonymous said...


the question that arose as soon as I was reading the third paragraph was: who put this predjudice into the man who abused you? What happened to him, thinking that what he did and said to you was okay? What horrible ideas did he face in his upbringing?

His behaviour is unacceptable. But you have to ask what made him target you? Missing empathy?

Hugs and telling you that it is okay and you are allowed to feel hurt and tired to fight every fight.


Shan said...

"He is the only person responsible for his behaviour." I couldn't agree with you more.

Shan said...

BTW this whole story totally creeped me out. It's like he was purposely lulling you into a false sense of security to make the coming attack that much more effective.

Unknown said...

DAVE! Don't fall into being guilty of the same things that the upright population does to us - he HAS to be responsible for his behaviour - lost job or not.

Anonymous said...

Hm, is my comment sending a wrong or difficult message. Did I misunderstood something important?


Anonymous said...

On the one hand, you had an opportunity to try to ensure an abuser didn't do it again, at work. He'd probably do it somewhere else, if he was just sacked. If he was made to understand, he might not.

On the other, tiredness is a human right. It's not just to expect victims should always carry the burden of stopping abusers. It's not just to expect someone to respond ideally after a brutal shock.

You owe the fat man in the wheelchair just as much compassion as the person who hurt him. If TFMITW learns for next time, he's done his bit.

Andrea S. said...

I hate that people keep doing things like this to you.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I am so sorry you had this horrible experience.

I think it is important that this employee be held accountable for his actions. Disabled or not, no one has the right to abuse another person in this,(or any other way).

In my opinion, this man should lose his job. He insulted a customer, after stalking them!! - He should have been 'stocking' the shelves instead...

I think you should have a conversation with the store manager or maybe the man's job coach- obviously he is in need of further training to be able to do his work effective/appropriately.

Anonymous said...

What a dreadful example of the "hierarchy" of disability that we see so often . . . "I may be (blank) but at least I'm not (other blank)!"

I'm sorry you were at the receiving end.

theknapper said...

I'm thinking there could be a work support person who could work with him or find a more suitable position as he's doing alot of harm. It's not ok what he did and it doesnt mean you cant still voice your concerns.
Take care Dave.

Rickismom said...

The thing is, would a person without an intellectual disability loosw a job because of this? I doubt it. If one could contact a job couch, that would be best. Otherwise , it would be important to emphasise in your complaint that you hope that with proper rebuke/training, the situation can be rectified.