'Helping' a wheelchair user(69 Posts)
I had a very upset dd on the phone earlier today. She is away at uni, and was seeing her gf off at the train station before heading back to her halls. She was halfway up a steep hill, which is a challenge but she has managed fine before, stopped for a drink and was just starting to wheel back up there again when suddenly someone behind her grabbed the handles on her wheelchair and started to push her. She shouted at him to not touch her so he started shouting back at her and swore at her before walking off up the hill. She was really shaken up, and annoyed with herself that she didn't taken her handles off (she keeps them in a pocket just in case).
I guess my AIBU is, is it unreasonable for people to ask a wheelchair user if they would like some help? You wouldn't just grab some shopping bags off someone walking along because they look like they are struggling. You would ask if that person needed help.
She was also a bit shaken up because, despite shouting at him to not touch her, people walking past looked but no one came to her help.
I hate her being away and so vulnerable
Dillydally wind your neck in, calling me disgusting. There’s nothing disgusting about wanting to help and not thinking about it causing offence. Now, I know better.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
On the plus side, the way modern developments are going - rough cobbled pavements, bumps everywhere, broken lifts and cluttered shops, there will probably be fewer people able to use wheelchairs "in the wild" year on year. So it's a temporary problem ....
Just a crystal clear example that a lot of people only see the wheelchair, not the person in it
This. The people trying to justify it are part of the problem that people with a disablity face on a daily basis.
If you wouldn't do it to someone who wasn't disabled, don't fucking do it to someone who is!
Of course a wheelchair user not in the way becomes invisible ...
That sounds bloody scary, imagine some stranger coming up and taking control of your legs, just dragging you off somewhere! I’ve never considered doing something like that to a wheelchair user, have offered help with packing shopping (packing areas can be awkward to reach fully when seated) and folded people’s chairs into their boots once they’re in their car.
OP I'm so angry for your DD- that must have been an absolutely terrifying experience.
Although the comment that I'm a bit about is - I’ve learnt not to do that
@Henrysmycat is this a phrase I'm unfamiliar with? Because I can't grasp why you would need to learn not to do this? Surely you just KNOW that this is disgusting.
If you and /or your daughter are Twitter users, I'd suggest looking up the #JustAskDontGrab hashtag, discussing the difficulties caused to disabled people by supposed "well-meaning helpers" which can result in anxiety, stress and downright danger at times.
A lot of people are sharing similar stories, discussing strategies and educating others. and you (both) might find it useful.
To quote @BlondeHistorian " #JustAskDontGrab (is) forever connects with it. If you’ve had these experiences then it’s your hashtag too! Wheelchair users, people with canes or walkers, people with Guide dogs or canes. If someone has unhelpfully grabbed you then feel free to talk about it. Thank you for sharing"
It's disgusting behaviour, isn't it @TinklyLittleLaugh ?
I also periodically get people stand still and tut at me. Whether for existing or for being in their way, I'm never sure. That's not much better, TBH.
I’ve been moved out of the way many times in shops.
Ha, yes, can you imagine supermarket staff just lifting random children out of the way? It would never happen, and oddly people don't do it to prams or buggies much, either.
Correction above, they wouldnt just move another child
Totally out of order. I have a family member (child) who uses a wheelchair and sometimes staff in shops have literally just taken it upon themselves to move his chair if he’s in there way. I’ve fully taken them to task on this, pointing out that he isn’t a piece of furniture and they wanted just pick up or shove another 8 year old out of the way, they’d talk to them or the adult with them. It’s amazing the shit people will do without thinking about how intrusive it is.
Just a crystal clear example that a lot of people only see the wheelchair, not the person in it .
It's like grabbing an old person's arm and dragging them across the road without asking.
It hadn't occurred to me that people even do this, it's insane. My Dad has recently started needing an attendant propelled chair and I've found people to be so kind and helpful. But we're very new to it and it's very exhausting pushing a chair around. All the manoeuvring is really hard.
I'm sure self propelled is a different kettle of fish.
I'm in a wheelchair and have experienced people offering to help (always appreciated), and deciding to help. One is great, the other is terrifying. It feels like an assault, and I don't think non wheelchair users get this. I've also been moved out of the way, spoken to like a child, spoken about as if I'm not there etc. It's shocking how bad people will act while 'being kind' or 'helping'. No advice, but lots of understanding.
I was looking after my friends DD (who is a wheelchair user) at an event in a cathedral, as the bishops procession was about to pass through one of his attendants walked over to us, pointed at friends DD and said "move that". I was shocked and sickened, He hadn't seen a child at all, just a chair that was in the way.
Some people are bloody rude OP.
Hope your DD is ok now.
I'm sure it was a well meaning intention but I can understand if she felt threatened.
In that situation, I might have said "Are you ok, or would you like a hand?" I would never just take over, that's just rude.
*Religious people grabbing her hands and trying to 'heal' her, to people making jibes and hoping she'd get run over by a bus!!
I'm sorry, but not surprised*
I'm utterly shocked to be honest. Do people really behave like this?? That is just unreal. Disgusting behaviour. They are the ones with the disability.
Fine to ask but not fine to start pushing, unasked.
If you were waiting a long time to cross a busy road, would you be happy with someone grabbing your hand and dragging you across?
It might have been ment as a well meaning gesture, but who knows!! People are right somebody's wheelchair is an extension of themselves it's like grabbing someone else's body. Not right.
Your poor DD.
I have 3 sons that of and on use wheelchairs but especially my 14 year old and I worry so much about something happing like this with them and how I tell them to deal with it, I like you worry. DS hasn't had the confidence to go fully out on his own and I worry that it's stuff like this that make him scared. It's lovely to hear how independent your DD is (I really don't mean that to sound patronising!!!) I hope my son will get the confidence one day.
I didn't think I was being unreasonable with asking what I have asked. I have sent her the link to this topic so she can see that actually she was not over reacting by what she said and how she is feeling. I do think the guy was acting with best intentions, but he went about it all wrong.
She has had a few weird things happen whilst being at uni, when going around the town. Religious people grabbing her hands and trying to 'heal' her, to people making jibes and hoping she'd get run over by a bus!!
I'm sorry, but not surprised, others have experienced these things. She said she couldn't put her brakes on due to the hill.
My mum a wheelchair user. She doesn't have the strength to push herself at all and she is very nervous with anyone pushing her except me (a whole different story). She would hate it if anyone moved her without her expecting it. If we are out and about and someone offers to help we are always very grateful but rarely take them up on the offer.
In the case of the OP's daughter it must have been terrifying. There would be no knowing if it was someone being helpful or stupid. Really sorry that happened to her.
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