Ways to ease the handicapped’s plight
Iíve been in a wheelchair or on crutches six weeks due to foot surgery. I will be unable to walk unassisted for six or more months.
In general, most everyone, even perfect strangers, has been more than helpful, especially if I ask plainly and politely.
However, hereís how we could make it easier and safer for folks like me:
To store and restaurant owners: Check your restrooms every half hour. A wet floor is a double danger zone for me.
If I get the nerve to tell you it needs attention, please donít make excuses, just take care of it.
To fast-food or counter sales, grocery stores: Help me carry my tray or bag to where I need to go.
Publix is great at doing this often without me asking and so is Chick-fil-A. McDonalds will help happily if asked.
To people waiting in line: I am more physically uncomfortable than you are in this line, so be prepared and prompt with your business. I am not cutting in front of you if I move around you to steady myself on a structure near you.
To people in crowded spaces: When I sit, stand or begin to travel in a direction, I have a plan in my mind and a true need to get there. Please donít rush to cut in front of me, because I can panic or fall.
To the nice people who hold doors: If ďnormalĒ folks are in front of me please look down ó thatís where I am ó before you shut the door.
To the DMV: Please train your employees so it wonít take three weeks for a parking placard. Why did I have a long wait at DMV and then be told the window placard would come in the mail? Why did I have to make a second and third trip because my placard came with someone elseís picture on it?
To those who park in handicapped spaces: Please donít use grandmaís parking placard when sheís not in the car.
If you are healthy, do not park in a handicapped space to run into the store.
I also ask my handicapped friends to try and limit the time they take up a space to one hour.
To health care providers: When you know I am headed toward a handicap, tell me in advance about toilets, wheelchairs, knee scooters, crutches, bathing and parking. Help me plan in advance for what you know I will need.
Today, people are living longer and having surgeries or other treatments to keep them going. Understand that it may not be your turn yet to be in my chair, on crutches or on my scooter, but it probably will be some day and you, too, will need help in order to be independent.