Letter: I’m No Different Than You!

Where Are Your Manners?

Sometimes I wonder why complete strangers stare at me and talk behind their hands. I wonder if they think I’m a celebrity or just extremely beautiful but then reality sets in; I have a visible disability. Therefore, I’m viewed as a runaway zoo animal.

After a near-fatal 2001 car accident I was scarred and lost the ability to walk. After much support and perseverance, I relearned but my gait wasn’t “normal.” I walk with a cane or walker but sometimes hold the arm of whomever I’m with. After lunch with my family in a Surrey restaurant my mom walked me out. Other patrons stopped dining to stare at me. This is very insulting behaviour.

My mom was upset and exclaimed “haven’t people seen a disabled person walk before!” Our lovely lunch was marred. I know I’m different and have a story, but that doesn’t give you the right to stare at me or inquire about my health. Put yourself or your child in my position. Offer help, don’t stare; we’re not curiosities. And don’t ask what happened, many of us are still traumatized. I’m somebody’s daughter and sister, not your next topic of discussion.