i went grocery shopping today.
i couldn’t go alone.
unfortunately, i have to rely on crutches for a time because i fell down some stairs and really gave it to my ankle. so i needed a good samaritan to take me to the store, and i found one.
when we pulled into the parking lot, the only spot close to the store was a real tight one, and since i’m not so good at walking long distances right now, we took it.
it isn’t easy to get out of the car with crutches and even harder if there’s not much space, so i had to work a bit. i was extra careful to not bang the car door against the car next to us – i thought that was very considerate of me.
halfway through my struggle, i noticed this guy standing there, keys in hand, giving me a disapproving glance. his stance made it fairly obvious that it was his car next to ours, his tapping foot implied that he was in a hurry, and his glare told me that he dared me to touch his car with my car door.
he watched me for a good long while, muttering under his breath, until i finally managed to get out of the car and stand up on my 3 feet (2 silver ones, the other one was mine – the 4th is on a well deserved vacation after all the trouble i put it through).
it would have saved him some time to just hold the door open for me, but i didn’t dare rob him of the opportunity to get angry about something by asking if he could lend me a hand… some people need it more than they need food. and he seemed to be that kind of guy.
so i gave him a passing smile (an honest one) and went into the store.
i work at a neurological rehab clinic. lots of people in wheelchairs, using crutches or canes… i’m used to it. it’s normal to me. but today i really got to see (and feel) that it’s not normal to most others.
there i was, hobbling through the store with my good samaritan by my side, carrying my basket… you wouldn’t believe the stares we got.
people shied away whenever i got closer, as if i were infectious. really unbelievable. i briefly considered to start coughing and wheezing, but eventually decided against it.
i always knew about the weird looks handicapped people got in public, but today i felt them. it’s disturbing and humiliating.
i can only imagine how horrible it must be to go through this every day. i am lucky to get rid of my crutches soon enough, but a lot of people out there will never get better. they’re stuck for life.
i can only say: hats off to you.
you are my heroes.