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Thread: Etiquette question

  1. #1

    Etiquette question

    Since I don't have and spinal cord injury and I'm not even especially close to anyone near me with SCI, I'm somewhat ignorant about some stuff. One of those awkward moments came a few days ago when we had a few inches of snow on the ground and I saw a city bus drop off a man in a powerchair. He got off the bus in an area of grass and melting snow and was obviously having trouble with his wheels spinning into a couple of inches of wet snow. I was stuck in traffic and it would have taken a couple of minutes and a fair amount of maneuvering for me to get near him and get out to help. Fortunately, he was able to finally get to a fairly clear stretch of grass that led to a plowed sidewalk, but I could see the frustration in his face.

    My question is simply, at what point should I make an obvious effort to go out of my way to help someone in this sort of situation? I certainly would not mind going a little out of my way, but I don't want to make someone feel that I don't consider them capable of dealing with things themselves. This is especially hard to judge with strangers.

    Any advice?

    David Berg

  2. #2
    Originally posted by David Berg:

    My question is simply, at what point should I make an obvious effort to go out of my way to help someone in this sort of situation?
    When the person is screaming for help, otherwise you should mind your own business.

  3. #3
    Hi David, one of the reasons I left the NE is because of how difficult it is to maneuver in the snow and wet ice in a WC. What you described happened to me many times and I would have gratefully welcomed the help. If no one's around or seems like they care, most disabled people wll struggle along without asking, it doesn't mean that they don't need it. If you had been closer and asked the guy if he needed help that would have been fine, if he didn't, he would simply answer no, I doubt if he would have been offended though.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the input seneca and JT. I was a undecided because I knew that many, many times I've hopped out to give someone's car a push when they were stuck, but this guy was in a little different situation. It was late in the day and I could just picture him using the rest of his battery power spinning his wheels and getting stuck before he could get the rest of the way home.

    Just yesterday I was browsing eBay searching for a cushion for my office chair and decided to take a peek at WC seat cushions. In the listings I found a powerchair that runs on tracks instead of wheels, tank-style. Perhaps everyone here already knows about those things, but if I needed a chair and lived in an area that gets snow, this chair looked like am interesting concept. Either that or the tire chains I've seen that are sold for mountain bike wheels.

    David Berg

  5. #5

    Offering help

    I never resent an offer of help. Just don't offer if you have no time, because I'll probably take you up on it! Betheny

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tara's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    BC, Canada
    I dont mind a little bit of help if needed, but only within reason. For example, I dont mind someone holding open a door for me if they are on their way in, but to come running from nowhere in a valient attempt to save me only creates a scene and greatly embarrasses me. If I was stuck in snow and was completely unable to move then I probably wouldnt mind a discrete push, but from someone nearby not from a couple lanes of traffic over. I think it always depends on the person, their predicament and their mood at the time....GOOD LUCK with that one!

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Memphis, Indiana USA

    My wife tells me that I am strange...

    But you should not believe her! I would have died a cold terrible death before I asked anyone for help, however I would have appreciated someone asking if I would like some assistance. At the same time though I would have been offended if someone just walked up and grabbed me or the chair in an effort to help. I have had both happen to me!

    But like I said... my wife tells me that I am strange!

    see ya, jeff'

    See ya, Jeff'

    Memphis, Indiana USA

  8. #8
    Senior Member dogger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Mitchell , Qld. Australia

    David , my feelings are ,

    don't just rush in and help . ask the person and give them the opportunity to accept or reject the offer . if they say no don't persist .

    thank you

  9. #9

    Dave, I never mind

    someone offering a hand, whether it be opening a door, or when I drop something
    or getting stuck one way or another. I used to struggle alot with needing to do everything for myself. Back then, I needed to prove something to others, but more to myself. I know now what I can do and can't do and it doesn't matter.

    Life is dam hard enough. If my life is made alittle easier by an act of kindness, bring it on. Just don't do without asking first.


  10. #10
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Baltimore, MD
    Ask if the person needs assistance, just as you would an able-bodied person who seems to be having trouble. You never can predict how any person will react, but your motivation isn't that he's disabled, it's that he's a person who appears to be having trouble. If he takes it differently, that's his problem, not yours.

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