Thursday, September 30, 2010

Courtesy and Compassion (Or Lack Thereof)

I have always tried to be courteous to people with disabilities. I will hold doors, help someone reach an item on a higher shelf if needed, not shown impatience if I'm slowed down walking behind them in a crowded store. It's not their fault. They have a disability; they are doing the best they can. I figure nothing in my life is so damn urgent that I can't wait a couple of extra reason to be impatient or rude.

It's the way I was raised - - be kind, be courteous, and show compassion. It's too bad that there are so many people out there who do NOT practice this.

For the past month, since my foot surgery, I have had to use a kneewalker to get around, since I am not allowed to put any weight on my right foot at all. When grocery shopping, I have been using the battery-operated carts; if one is not available, I have to use the kneewalker. During the time so far, I have run into the best and worst of people out there - - the kind, courteous ones, and the jerks. I have had doors help open for me (thank you!), and I have had people literally push in front of me, to the point where I almost fell off the kneewalker (idiots!).

But one of the worst things? Is at the checkout. I use my Debit Card to pay, and the little machine that you swipe your card through and then have to punch in you PIN? And also answer some stupid questions (cash back? donate? etc., etc., etc.)?

It does not tilt down.

So here I am, in a narrow checkout lane, sitting in a battery-operated cart, because hey - - I am not able to put any weight on my foot - - and I am having to try to stand up in the damn cart to swipe my card, punch in my PIN, and answer all their nosy-ass questions.

It's not easy, people. Not easy at all.

So hey, Walmart! Kroger! County Market! How about a little compassion here! Okay?

This time off my feet is a real eye-opener. If anything, it's made me even more aware of how much farther we need to go to make things more accessible for persons with disabilities - - better sidewalk access from parking lots, automatic doors, displays in grocery store aisles (THOSE things are a freakin' menace!) and more.

I don't know what it will take - - writing letters, talking with store managers - - but I intend to at least try.

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