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So many times people have just grabbed my wheelchair and started to push me. These people haven’t asked, or they have but have ignored my reply of “no I don’t need help” and they’re strangers. Grabbing my wheelchair and randomly pushing me isn’t helpful or appreciated.
Firstly it is scary. I can’t see people behind me, so to suddenly feel myself going faster and to not be in control is scary and horrible. I’ve often just grabbed the wheels to try and slow down and try to tell the person I am fine and don’t need help. This has often been met with an angry response as if I should be grateful that I’ve just been pushed by a stranger with no warning.
I bet these people wouldn’t want someone to suddenly come up behind them and start to push them whilst they were walking. What they do to me is no different.
It is frustrating too. To be going along perfectly fine and suddenly someone starts pushing you. It to me says “you’re in a wheelchair and therefore you can’t cope, I must help” and I feel frustrated and patronised by this.
A lot of people also expect me to be so grateful, they expect me to thank them and to think they’ve been so helpful. I am not going to thank, you for scaring me and making me feel frustrated and patronised.
I know how my wheelchair works, how to be in control of it, how fast I want to go, how best to go over dodgy pavement. If I am suddenly pushed by a stranger I don’t have that control anymore and someone who doesn’t know these things or isn’t aware of them is suddenly in control.
Ask before trying to help me and if I say no don’t ignore my no.
If I am rolling along the pavement looking perfectly fine then you don’t even need to ask if I need help as I will be fine, and you certainly don’t start pushing me.
If you do push me without permission, or any wheelchair user, we don’t owe you a thank you. We are allowed to be scared and frustrated and annoyed.