Sidewalk Observations

So I’m walking down the street …

And upwards,

Is this young man in a motorized wheelchair.

He has some physical disabilities of sort,

I couldn’t quite tell what,

Though I wasn’t looking to ascertain.

But it was such that …

In order to open the door to the restaurant he was entering,

He had to back up his wheelchair,

Grab the door rail across the door with his one hand …

Which was bent up and over his shoulder,

Pull the door open by driving forward in his wheelchair,

Then …

While still holding the door rail over his shoulder,

Turn the wheelchair towards the opening he was creating pulling the door open,

Then let go of the door with a timing …

So that it would not close,

Before he turned his wheelchair more fully into the door opening …

Where it would stop when it hit his wheelchair,

Allowing him to more fully open the door,

And enter the restaurant.

I was watching this transpire …

As I approached him.

And from the time I first saw him …

To the time I was at the point of passing him on the sidewalk,

I saw a half-dozen people walk past him.

To a person,

I saw each …

Pause,

Glance,

Think,

Then continue walking past the young man.

I didn’t sense that they didn’t want to assist him,

It felt more like they thought they might offend him if they offered assistance,

And they chose not to even ask.

So there I was …

When it was my turn to glance towards him,

As I was walking past.

Though I thought,

That’s bullshit.

Why should one be afraid of asking someone if they need a hand?

If he doesn’t need any assistance,

Hopefully he’ll just say "No thanks, got it".

Though I suppose,

There’s always the chance he’ll be angry someone suggests he needs help just by asking him,

But if he is,

So what?

I’m not going to ask him in a condescending way.

So even if he does respond gruffly,

Why should the fear of that prevent me from just being nice?

It shouldn’t.

At least in my mind.

So I asked him.

"Hey dude, can I get that for ya?"

"Yeah, I’d really appreciate it."

"Glad too."

"Thanks."

"You’re welcome."

And that was that.

I’ll probably never see him again,

But if I do,

Maybe he’ll be doing me a favor next time.

It really doesn’t matter.

However,

The moral of this story does,

Which is:

Don’t be phucking afraid to be nice !

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14 Comments

  1. Amy;
    Even before i had read 2 lines, i know you were going to do the right thing. i’ve have always offered help since i was old eough to be of help. I’ve been pleased for the person thanked me and said, “i can manage” or “yes please”. i learned to offer help way back when i was a boy scout. You might have learned about helping others in the same way. The scout handbook in those days 1930’s did not mentioned handicap persons but usually used an old lady as an example. i can identify with that.
    This blog that you do for youself and all of us is also a help. i know we are all grateful to take the time to share your life experiences with us.
    sally

  2. WHAT an idea! GREAT!
    “What would AMY do?”
    (But we would still have to pretend we don’t know she’s a defense attorney…)

  3. You may be absolutely right, Amy. Perhaps the world is full of people that are just too afraid to put themselves out there enough to be nice to someone else. Not that they don’t care- they are just afraid. Well, I think everyone here can agree- we are all thankful to “know” you and that wonderful people like you are out there who aren’t afraid to be nice.

    BTW, I was heading down to the courthouse for my name change hearing yesterday. I was gettin’ all nervous-like and I actually said to myself (no lie), “Hey Amy did this, what would Amy do?”. So, I swallowed my fears, and walked into that courthouse head-up-high. So, in conclusion, I’m thinking (along the lines of a “what would Jesus do?” bumper sticker) that I will get a “What would Amy do?” sticker for my car. Waddayathink?

    Seriously, though, thanks for being such a strong example and role model.

  4. My father is a paraplegic. I remember when I was a kid, people ahead of us would just let the door slam shut instead of holding it open for him. Now that he’s older, more people tend to help him. I always ask a disabled person if they need help. I’ve taught this to my daughters & my Scouts. Unfortunately not many parents do that.

    Way to go Amy!! You did the right thing.

  5. My father is a paraplegic. I remember when I was a kid, people ahead of us would just let the door slam shut instead of holding it open for him. Now that he’s older, more people tend to help him. I always ask a disabled person if they need help. I’ve taught this to my daughters & my Scouts. Unfortunately not many parents do that.

    Way to go Amy!! You did the right thing.

  6. Amy again rocks!!
    It was the right thing to do! Once again you’re looking out for the other person before yourself…again and again and again. Just wish the “me first” crowd would somehow,somewhere, someday get a clue how to act.

  7. Amy!!!! you did a wonderful thing ,a thing not many do because we have lost something along the line somewhere you used common sense and good manners!!! fantastic! i open doors or hold them open all the time and i get thanked a lot !!! it doesn’t cost anything at all so keep it up! and for the defense lawyer crack …. well were not all perfect but you are closer than anyone i know !!!hahaha

  8. Firstly, being nice doesn’t cost a thing, being compassionate shows you have empathy…..but we already knew that about you. I’m disturbed that the restaurant didn’t have wheelchair access, shame on them…anywhose…just dropping in and out – back to class….

  9. I do some volunteer work with disabled people (in wheelchairs) and so often I notice that people refuse to step aside, cut across just in front of you or not help when they see you struggling with a door. But the worst of all is that I now notice how bad streets and buildings have been designed for use by disabled people, it’s a nightmare.

  10. Compassion & good, kind, manners. Often two sides of the same coin. But it seems to me to be a coin of some scarcity. It’s nice you haven’t lost yours.

    Good on you.

  11. Absolutely!…Way to go Chica!!!!

    Coonversely, I hate it when…as I approach a door to a store…and another person, approaching the same door (or bank of doors) from the other side, beats me to the door way…and either (1) gets to the door ahead of me and then waits for me to get there and open the door, so that they can push past me through the open door….or (2) gets to the door after I’ve gotten there and opened it, but angled across several other doors (rather than expend the energy to open a door themselves), only to push past me as I enter…WHY ARE PEOPLE TOO DANG LAZY TO OPEN A PHREAKIN’ DOOR???? Does it really expend so much energy that doing so might emperil their very existence????

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