What I do when I see someone who is disabled and potentially needs help is to stand back–out of their space–and ASK if they would like assistance.
This happened to me in a drugstore in Florida about a year ago. An elderly lady dropped her credit card on the floor. She obviously would not be able to pick it up. Her husband was totally exasperated with her and shouted “I can’t take it any more!” before he stomped off.
She was sitting in her wheelchair and crying.
I was behind her in line and I calmly asked her if she would like my help. She nodded “yes.” So I picked up her card and placed it on the pharmacist’s counter.
She was trying to explain to me why she was disabled. She had had a stroke and her right arm was useless. She acted so grateful to have my help and attention.
Before we parted, we hugged and both said “I love you.” She acted so happy to have someone’s understanding and support.
And I let her know that she was just fine the way that she was. No need for apologies.
As we left, I spoke her husband for a minute. Told him that I understood his frustration. How difficult it must be to be the caregiver for someone else’s every need. Without a break.
But there is room for all of us, isn’t there?
No, it wasn’t a sad encounter at all. We were surrounded by a beautiful bubble of love and acceptance.
We turned what could have been a disaster into a Golden Moment.