The handicapped are people, too

They walked across my path as if I wasn’t there. They stepped out in front of me and stopped. They parked their carts and walked off—leaving them right where I was trying to reach an item. They acted as if I wasn’t there. No one spoke. No one looked me in the eye. When I came near, they looked anywhere else.

Before my ankle surgery years ago, I had to use one of those motorized carts in the supermarket. I was surprised at what a lonely experience it was.

You would assume that people in our “civilized” society would make allowances. That they would help, not hinder. And I’m sure if someone asked them a hypothetical question they’d say “yes, of course”.

But that’s not what they do in practice. I don’t know if it’s because handicaps make them uncomfortable—they don’t know what to do so they pretend they don’t see. I don’t know …

I only know that that short experience has made a difference for me. When I see someone in a wheelchair I am careful to look them in the eye. To treat them like any other person. I guess person is the operative word here. They aren’t part of the chair.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

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