On the bus home last night, there was a man boarding, who was in a wheelchair and clearly had mental retardation problems of some form.  Anyway, he can’t push his own wheelchair, so he boards awkwardly, then struggles to move into the designated space on the bus for his chair, kicking desperately at the floor and just veering off into people. For a moment, I just watched because I thought he could do it and I didn’t want to insult him by taking over if he was capable.  As soon as it was clear he couldn’t do it on his own, I took his chair and wheeled him into place.  He gave me this huge smile and difficultly made out, ‘Thank you,’ many times.[br][br]Really, I don’t think any thanks were needed.  We’re all fellow human beings, the man needed help so I helped.  I consider this our human duty, personally. Yet there were all these other passengers, some who were closer to him than I was, some he was even banging into with his chair, and they didn’t help.  They even moved further away from him, when he ran into them.[br][br]Then this woman boarded at the next stop, with a toddler and a baby in a push chair.  The crippled man tried to push one of the fold-up seats up and away so there was space for her to put the push chair, but she looked absolutely horrified and declined his offer, and even pulled the chair further from him.  Then at some point when the push chair slid a little with the motion of the bus, he put out his hand to help and she quickly yanked the chair away from him and wouldn’t look at him.  I really was disgusted. This man wasn’t some evil psychopath; he was a cripple with retardation.[br][br]Seriously, what is wrong with people that so many are that disgusted by people who are worse off than them?  Don’t they ever stop and think, ‘That man has a family, that man is someone’s son, that man is feeling inside that body’??  How can you not think these things?[br][br]And actually, earlier than that, at the train station, I heard this loud noise and turned to see where it was coming from, and it was a man jerking around wildly as he walked.  It was so obvious he had Tourette’s, and I could see everyone around him pulling away fearfully yet still staring at him.  Obviously all I could think was, ‘I have that too – you just can’t tell.’ And then you can’t help but wonder how many other people around you have something seriously wrong with them, but they’re just good at hiding it, like me.  In some strange way, I think maybe it would be easier if everyone could tell I had problems – because at least I wouldn’t always feel like I’m living some constant lie.

1 Comment
  1. rq5738 14 years ago

     Good for you, for helping the man in the chair, and for recognizing what we\’re missing so much of in this world.  My ocd would likely stop me from touching his chair and that kills me b/c the "old" me would have been helping him at first thought that he was having difficulty.  You never know what is going on in someone\’s mind, do you?!  Friend or stranger… and yet we are all so much the same and need the same things, to be accepted and cared for.

     

    Congratulations on being an A+ human being!

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