I had a frustrating experience the other day. A technician came over to look at our A/C unit. Emily and I greeted him at the door, showed him where the unit was then I went back to helping Lily & Ava with homework and Emily went upstairs to help Ariana.
A little while later he calls out “ma’am… ma’am” I turn around and say, “She’s upstairs but you can let me know what’s going on.” He looks at me then turns around and just walks out… I sat there stunned, but thought to myself, “maybe he didn’t hear me?”
When I got back to the table my kids were appalled 😮 as they witnessed the entire thing. They couldn’t believe he had done that and how rude he was to me. As soon as Emily came down they had to tell her.
I’m so quick to brush off those kind moments and not give it a second thought. I’ve had similar experiences where people discount me because of my wheelchair. However, having my kids there to witness it happening to me, and their refusal to let it go, forced me to reevaluate the situation.
It’s crazy how quickly people judge or write someone off based on their appearance. At the end of the day I don’t think the repairman, or anyone who has judged me in the past, has been intentionally “mean” towards me. Rather, I believe these people acted out of ignorance.
I can’t imagine how my friends feel who are physically disabled and unable to talk but are so intelligent & aware. These situations probably happen to them daily.
These moments reinforce the importance of exposing yourself to new & different people. It can be as simple as volunteering for a nonprofit that supports people who are different from you like a homeless shelter or my wheelchair camp.
I know that starting the wheelchair camp in the first place has taught me so many valuable lessons, and our decision to bring our kids to the camp last year has given them a completely different outlook on people that are different from them. For the most part, it has taught them that we share so many more similarities with other people than we do differences.
The more we understand and get to know each other the quicker we’ll be able to move past ignorance and embrace acceptance.