Tuesday, October 03, 2017

A Hero And A Reminder

I haven't been getting as much exercise on this trip as I'd like. I am pushing more than I do normally, but not enough to equal what I do in the gym. On Sunday we decided to go to a grocery store to pick up some things for the room. I told Joe that I'd be doing a full run through the store, up and down all aisles and a once around the store. He was good with that and we set off.

We parked and I pushed up the hill from the car to the store and then we set about shopping, Joe coming with me as I pushed the store. It was a big store but had lots of people so while I went a long distance there was a lot of stopping and a lot of waiting so it wasn't sustained in any way. When we were in the checkout line I told Joe I wanted more distance so I'd go out and then across the parking lot to the store next door. He said he'd return to the car to drop off the groceries.

I pushed along the parking lot again, pleased because outdoor pushing is a goal for me. It was a challenge with uneven pavement and a slope the whole way that had to be conquered. I got to where I needed to go up to and then on to the sidewalk. I pushed uphill to the curb cut, when I got there the curb cut had a real lip on it. It was almost enough to say, "Forget it buddy." But I used my feet and my arms to get over the barrier and then, oh my, the curb cut was steep.

I was pushing hard. As much as I tried one arm is slightly stronger than the other and I was listing to the right. But I was still making progress. I was about seven inches from the top. I was working really hard. And a woman came out of the store and saw me struggling.

She smiled a greeting and said hello. My hello back was breathless as I didn't stop with the pushing. I was inching forward, she walked slowly by me, giving me time to ask for help. I didn't, she didn't offer, and then, suddenly, I was on the sidewalk and pushing to the door of the store.

She saw me.

She opened the possibility for me to ask for help.

When the ask didn't come.

She didn't offer.

Isn't it weird that I'm writing about someone who saw a disabled guy struggle to get up a steep curb cut ramp and she didn't offer help and I see her as some kind of hero. Because I do. She allowed me the dignity of a decision. She allowed me the opportunity to finish what I started. She welcomed me without believing she knew what I needed.

A hero.

That so rarely happens. That when it does I am reminded that respect for me and for others with disabilities is possible.

3 comments:

Shannon said...

A pretty uncommon event indeed.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

The difference between that and being uncaring is subtle - one could look like the other - but important and real.

There is so much of the uncaring kind, and the clumsy caring-but-only-my-way, that it may be confusing. But it really makes sense for people to being a bit open to being asked for help, and staying out of the helping business when they are not wanted.

A goal.

Rickismom said...

I am always careful (due to your blog) not to ask someone disabled and/or elderly if they need help when they obviously can do it themselves.

However,there IS a grey area. Sometimes when I DO need help (due to age and carrying bundles thrice what I should carry) I never ask for help unless VERY urgent. And even then usually not. Generally I refuse help when it is offered, and the asking irks me. . BUT sometimes I want help, but am loathe to "burden" others. Mqaybe a "If you want help, I am willing ... would be appropriate??