All Too Real Dangers of “Helping”

You see a person in a wheelchair at the mall, she’s carrying a a tray on her lap, wheeling herself to a table. You want to help because (I can’t read your mind but I think) you are naturally a helpful person, or from your point of view, it seems she’s having an awkward time (while it may look that way to YOU, that so-called awkwardness is only a matter of maneuvering in a different way than you).

“Here, let me push you.”

“No, thanks, I got it.”

“No, I’ll help.”

“I said no, but thank you.”

You grab the chair anyway and begin to push, not realizing there is a bump on the floor which the front wheel catches on, causing the chair to come to an abrupt halt, dumping the woman on the floor. 

While I’m sure most people have good intentions, the end results could culminate in disaster, as the above example has shown.

Now, obviously I can’t speak for everyone who uses some type of mobility aid – contrary to popular belief, we all really don’t know each other! However, there are plenty of us, myself included, who have ‘been at it’ for a long time and know exactly what we’re doing, so if and when we do need help, we will ask.

If I decline your offer of assistance, it simply means I don’t need/want your help at that particular moment. Do not take it personally (as some do) and try to make it MY issue that I refused your help.

Imagine you are walking down an unfamiliar street, looking for a particular business. Someone near you asks if you need help, and after relaying to him your problem, he grabs your legs and proceeds to “help” you in the right direction.

That scenario would never happen, but you can see how it could catch you off guard and cause some damage to your person. How do you think it would affect your concern for your personal safety if your control was taken away from you (by a stranger, no less) without your consent?

Think about it.


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