I just got back from cruising on Celebrity's Mercury for a week and had a wonderful woman that has recently taken up residence in a chair for reasons of injury. She is 82 and I have had her with our groups before. I took the responsibility to be her companion and driver for the cruise and had a most interesting experience.
I thought it might be rewarding to discuss what it means to be the abled body person in a relationship with someone in a chair, as I sense there are many lessons that would help someone on their first cruise or two with someone in a chair.
First, I was amazed at how insensitive folks can be. On one occasion, I had pushed the up-button for an elevator to take Pat (the person in the chair) up one floor to meet the rest of the group for dinner. The elevator opened and a swarm of people rushed into it before I could get Pat in. I thought it was so rude. I could tell lots of stories of similar situations, but I was shocked that folks in chairs are shown so little compassion.
The solution I chose in the elevator situation? Not being bashful, I simply backed Pat into the crowd on the elevator and had the front of her chair in a position to hold the door open until room was made to accommodate us. Then I joked with Pat about how we had to become more aggressive as it was clearly a battle between those in chairs against the rest of us…..I think everyone in the elevator was embarrassed, at least I hoped so.
So, what are the tricks in getting more respect? What has been your experience?