I like many other wheelchair users pride myself on being independent. There are a few, very few things that give me trouble on a daily basis. I can but hate to pump my own gas, I can’t reach the top shelf of the closet, I’ve never changed my own oil.
I was out getting some food from one of my favorite places that has been ruined for me many times by either staff of other customers who were overly helpful. At first it was the staff, the once told me I wasn’t allowed to carry my own sandwich to the table. I was fuming at the thought of not being able to handle my own sandwich. I asked to speak to a manager and asked if this was some new corporate policy.
I was told the staff member was trying to be helpful. I replied with my standard line of “I have a big mouth, if I need help you’ll know.” Despite the managers apology it happened repeatedly until I filed a complaint with corporate. I avoided eating at one of my favorite places for almost six months.
When I finally returned all was well. My husband and I even enjoyed several trips there before he deployed.
I will admit I haven’t eaten there until recently, but today it was four not one but four over helpful people that ruined my meal. The first was of course at the door. I have developed a technique where I use the door to help me get through the door way so when you snatch the door out of my hand it really isn’t helping, just the opposite especially when I told you no twice.
Next was the person who randomly decided to push my chair without asking, only my husband and the under ten crowd are allowed to do this without permission. (You’d be amazed at how often this happens.) When I put my brakes on and asked this person what they were doing. I got the reply of “just trying to help you.” I glared at this person and said thanks but no thanks I’ve got it.
So I haven’t even ordered and I’m hopeful that all of the over helpful people have been dealt with. Boy was I wrong!
I managed to place my order without incident, but when I went to get my drink I was derailed. I told this lovely lady no, not once but three times. She decided she knew best and snatched my cup out of my hand and proceeded to fill it with her beverage of choice. In my view this was way over the line, my dislike of green tea notwithstanding. This was the last straw I was furious I realize I’m in a wheelchair but really, I know what I want to drink.
That was the last straw, I was leaving forget the food forget it all. I’d had enough of these over helpful people. An employee who’d originally taken my order realized I was leaving way to soon. She stopped me and asked what’s wrong. We couldn’t have a one minute conversation before yet another helpful person decided to interject themselves and offer help. Thankfully the much calmer employee handled the offer.
The dear sweet employee also convinced me I really should stay and eat. She replaced my cup, I’d pitched on my way out and made sure I got my food. I was grateful when she didn’t offer to carry it.
I understand you see a handi-capable person and want to help. They know if they need help better than you do. They know their abilities and if they are working on improving a skill you may be hindering them.
No means no.
“I have a big mouth, if I need help you’ll know.”