“Hey!” said a passerby with disgust, “Don’t do that!! It’s disgusting.”

Now I don’t happen to believe that this was said to the man with an intellectual disability because of his disability, I firmly believe it was because of his behaviour. He had been walking alongside his staff in a mall when he leaded over and spat a huge gob onto the floor. The fellow who protested was clearly upset about this. I, took found it, to say the least, off putting.

The staff said, “It’s his right.”

The passerby said with surprise mixed with anger, “His right?”

The staff nodded in as haughty a manner as possible. I’m sure she was thinking that she was advocating with the nasty public.

Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t think we all have ‘the right’ to spit on floors in stores, restaurants and malls. And if, by chance we do, we shouldn’t freaking do it anyway.

I have been fully engaged in the fight for people with disabilities to have full adult rights, this is not what I envisioned. Not at all. In fact, I think this is neglectful of his right to learn behaviours that are not gut-wrenchingly awful. Spitting on the floor in a mall or anywhere like that really bothers me, when anyone does it. But then in all of my 65 years, I’ve not seen someone do it before so there must be some unwritten code guiding us all to gob where gobbing is acceptable. It seems simple.

Rights should not be trivialized.

Rights should not be used as an excuse to provide service that is essentially neglectful.

The look on the faces of everyone around was not, um, positive. The look on the face of the man who’d spat on the floor was triumphant, he knew what he did was wrong and he’s got his staff as his pass-key to do whatever the hell he wants.

Rights should not be trivialized.

I’d like that staff to write that on the blackboard 23 times.