I am Not my Chair

I had yet another yuky experience thanks to two taxi drivers  have very little understanding of customer service and disability rights. After feeling like I had been reduced to an object, I decided to put my emotions to good use and complain. I don’t like to complain so when I do the situation must have been very bad.
A wheelchair has four wheels, a frame that can be folded when required, on its own it’s an object but when a person is sitting in it its effectively a person’s legs. That’s it there is nothing scary or magical about it so why then do some people’s morality and common sense disappear when they encounter these mechanical legs?

I do find it surprising that in 2017 people still are wary about approaching a wheelchair user. My close friends might argue that it’s just me and if they didn’t know me very well they’d run for the hills if they met me in the street and that’s because they share my sense of humour!
Seriously though the looks I get probably would upset someone else, thank fully I have grown thicker skin. I was out shopping with my friend yesterday and I think her blood pressure must have hit levels that have never been recorded.
She finds it so hard to understand why people can’t look and move at the same time or why they can see I’m in a queue at the till in a mobility scooter or why people have to stand so close behind me and never think that I would have to reverse to move away from the till.
When you ask people to move back as politely as possible some respond in such an aggressive way, and I’m often left wondering what I did wrong whilst my friend just fumes how disgusting people can be.

I have to balance this by saying that I have also met some wonderful thoughtful and extremely lovely people. I went out with my mum to a craft centre and we decided to have lunch in their cafe.
It wasn’t a large cafe and very busy so we were just contemplating where we could sit that was accessible when a lovely man, got my mum’s attention and asked whether we would like to have the table him and his wife were sitting at.
It was the best place for us so we gratefully took him up on his offer. What made it extra special was that it was clear that the couple where in the middle of their meal. It really made our day.
I really do wish I encountered more people like this who weren’t asked for assistance, they observed that we needed some help and offered it.
So you’re probably wondering about the taxi drivers that upset and led me to take my frustration out on my laptop keys!!!
It’s kind of a long story but the highlights are this, I’d waited for a taxi I had ordered, when a taxi arrived he didn’t ask me my name or anything and my friend helped me into the taxi (as he clearly wasn’t going to) as we were about to set off he asked me where on a particular road I had never heard of was I going and I said no that’s not the address then it quickly became clear I was in the wrong taxi.
Another taxi from the same firm arrived, after a lot of discussion which I wasn’t part of, my wheel chair was taken out of the taxi and I was told that I had to get in the other car.
After the first taxi had gone with a different customer I was left on the road waiting for the taxi driver to help me, then he informs me he can’t take me. I’m on the phone to the firm who inform me another car is on its way. I’m left in the road unable to get on the pavement for 5 minutes.

A very distressing experience indeed!
Unfortunately when it comes to public transport I have loads more tales to tell.

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