The choices we make everyday define us as people. We actively display our attitudes, values and beliefs which reveal our strengths and weaknesses, our compassion and our integrity.Our choices are worn on our sleeves for all to observe.
An example of my point is people’s behaviour at bus stops. Emily uses the M30 back and forward to University. She is like all other students eager to get to class and always eager to return home at the end of a full and stimulating day of study. One difference between the commuters and Emily is she feels the cold particularly in winter. She plummets into hypothermia if she gets cold and wet as she has little ability to warm herself.
People’s behaviour at bus stops on rainy days is a microcosm of life. As Emily waits in her wheelchair; some people are oblivious, some will offer assistance and a small minority are intolerant and obtuse. Emily has been left behind in the rush of legs and arms so that the driver has to inform her there is no room on the now full bus. Emily will have to remain curb side and wait in the rain or in a chill wind for the next one.
Emily recalls these incidences to me when she finally drives into the house to warm herself with a cup of tea. Her acceptance of people’s behaviour is a credit to her. She gently acknowledges that people do not understand wheelchair users different physical needs. Her tolerant attitude leads her to forgive ignorant behaviour even when she’s drenched and shivering. I raise my eyebrows, shake my head and start typing…….
I am writing this today in the hope that one person will read this and realise that wheelchair users need to be prioritized onto a bus or train when the weather is inclement. If one person could stand aside for a moment and let the driver lower the ramp. If one person would halt the queue to allow the wheelchair user access it would have beneficial repercussions:
- It would show the queue how easy it is to be wheelchair aware.
- It progressively educates people to be actively helpful.
- On wet and cold days prioritising the differently-abled should be thought kind.
- Change starts with role models who display considerate behaviour.
As always it is a double-edged sword because the differently-abled want to integrate into society as equals but it would be great to see some straightforward sensitivity for a minority who overcome more than most to even get to the bus stop.
I advocate for ferries, buses, trains and trams to have signs alerting passengers:
BE WHEELIE KIND – don’t deny wheelchair users access.
Let’s start a revolution of awareness.