To the Guy in the Wheelchair

To the Guy in the Wheelchair,

I’ve just attended an appointment with my Consultant, at 34 weeks pregnant.  My appointment was supposed to be 10am, but I didn’t get seen until 11:10am.  I’ve then rushed to my next appointment in another town and I’m 10 minutes late.  I get through my appointment, get back in the car and drive off towards the chip shop.  It’s lunchtime, I’m extremely hungry and after the morning I’ve had, I totally deserve something yummy.  I park up and walk towards the chip shop.  Stepping past you, guy in the wheelchair, to get inside the shop and queue.  Well, not exactly ‘past’, but ‘over’.  You see, I was so wrapped up in my own stresses, my own little world, that it took me a moment to realise what I had just done. 

I’d just queue-jumped.  I am so sorry.  I would never purposely do such a thing.  I hadn’t realised that you were part of the queue, because you weren’t inside the shop – but how were you supposed to negotiate the step up to get inside the shop, when alone and in a wheelchair?  I asked you if you were waiting to be served and what you wanted to order, just in case the servers didn’t get to you when it was your ‘turn’.

The queue dwindled down until it was just me left in the shop.  How many other people had done just as I had, and stepped over you to feed themselves?  I asked the server’s to get your order before I would ask them for mine.  You were happy with your order and off you went, away and on with your life.

wheelchair

Is this something you experience every day?  Not only the difficulties with accessing services, but the ignorance of others?  I am quite ashamed of myself that I acted as I did that morning.  The nature of my job requires me to take into account the needs of all when designing new projects.  And yet, without my Engineer’s hat on, I lost that open outlook.

I suppose I’m writing this post to say sorry for my behaviour that morning.  I hope that you do see an improvement in the behaviour of strangers.  I also hope that businesses can help to make their services more accessible to the wider audience.

No-one should be denied access to live their lives independently as they see fit.

17 thoughts on “To the Guy in the Wheelchair

  1. Accidentally queue jumping is rather embarrassing isn’t it but at least you put it right and I am sure he was grateful for that. There are sadly people who wouldn’t and would have used that to their advantage.

    1. I daresay there was a few in front of me that did. I felt awful, poor guy! I can imagine how frustrating it must have felt.

  2. It’s very easy to overlook other people’s needs when we’re caught up with our own so good on you for recognising your genuine mistake.

  3. Thank you. Thank you so much for writing this! I’m quite often the guy in the wheelchair, this is my life. I’m last to be seen and it isn’t because of people’s ignorance, or at least I don’t think it is, more that people are caught up in their own lives.
    This isn’t a bad thing either. Life happens. As did your morning. Sometimes what’s right in front of you is difficult to see.
    What I will say is this: the did recognise him. You saw him. You took into his needs even of you felt it was late. That is amazing! Things like that brighten the day and, for me at least, being seen is a great thing. It cheers my day up and stops me from feeling second class.

    You did an amazing thing so don’t hold guilt. I hope others read this and look a little more at what and who are around them.

  4. At least you corrected your genuine mistake, there would be tons of people out there who just carried on unaware of what they have done. Lovely post x

  5. I hate it when you make mistakes like that, I also wish everywhere would make places accessible for everyone. You corrected your mistake and I am sure others didn’t.

  6. I think it’s great that you realised your mistake and addressed as I imagine many others wouldn’t have. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

  7. It’s so lovely that you can write about your mistake great post thanks for linking to the Binkylinky

  8. Awww this is a beautiful post. It actually makes me cry and I have no idea why this has provoked such an emotional response in me. You made a genuine mistake and you corrected it. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for people in that situation. Lovely honest post xxx

  9. Such a lovely post! There’s so many people who don’t turn around and help, your response was excellent. My mum can’t walk very well, she’s stubbornly on crutches but should be in a wheelchair and there’s so many people who have nearly knocked her over in the city centre!

  10. I don’t think you should feel guilty here – You corrected yourself immediately and it was, after all, a mistake. Thankfully disability laws in the UK mean that all shops will get up to speed with regards to wheelchair access.

  11. Thankyou for writing this. Im in a wheelchair and have frequent issues with access. It doesn’t annoy me anymore. Its just the way it is. I’m sure that guy wasn’t even remotely upset by it. Its our life everyday.

    The good thing is you saw him and was polite, asking if he needed anything. That would of made his day that bit easier x

  12. Oh well done for writing this. It’s really important to raise awareness because I’m not sure I would have noticed that he was in the queue either. How frustrating for him. I’ve just popped over to your blog after reading about it on Donna’s feature.
    Nat.x

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