A few people have asked me recently what prompted me to start my blog. The truth is that it had been an idea I toyed with for some time but never had the motivation to do anything about until I had an encounter with someone who I thought needed the lesson I wanted to teach.
This is the story…
While waiting to board the gondola that was to take us back down Sulphur Mountain in Alberta Canada recently, Dad and I were standing in the very long and slow moving line having a chat and minding our own business when out of the blue we were interrupted by an average looking man aged somewhere in his seventies. As the line moved forward I took Dad’s arm for guidance which prompted the man, who was standing behind us to remark to my Dad, “it sure is nice of you to bring her along with you, it’s very expensive and must be such a burden”. Clearly taken aback by the randomness of this comment Dad replied that yes, I did need the arm in unfamiliar places but other than that I am fully self sufficient and I paid for myself. Clearly this was a concept he could not comprehend and he gave Dad a look that was a mixture of pity and bemusement.
It was clear that he was under the impression that I was not able to understand and he thought he was being encouraging and usually I could let it slide however I had been having a great day up until that point and as I was on holiday I had hoped that it would continue.
It was at this point I could contain myself no longer and with steam coming out of my ears I turned to face him. With the sweetest smile I could muster and impressive composure, I calmly informed him that in fact I was a fully functioning human adult and I worked hard to earn my money. He heard me out and with an equally sweet smile patted me on the head and said, “of course you do dear”
Needless to say, we are not going to be bosom buddies!
This was not the first time I have found myself in a situation like this and I doubt it will be the last so I thought I should try and do my best to dispel a few stereotypes about disability and encourage people to get to know the person inside before they judge.
In the meantime I would like to bestow the award for achievement in ignorance to my new friend and thank him for the motivation.