Joe dropped me just inside the door. I had pushed myself in and he’d brought the luggage cart, he had to get back to the rental car quickly so I shooed him away and told him I’d look around and find where the Air Canada counter was. I’m quite proud of the fact that, with so much flying, I have learned to push myself and the cart, fully loaded, by myself.
I went to the information board where a touch screen gave instructions. I couldn’t work it so asked a passing airline employee who, in a really friendly manner, gave me directions. It was a ways away. I began pushing. Well, truth to tell, it took me several attempts before I got the cart and my chair and my grip and my push coordinated. But I did. I know that I’m going really slowly, I know my arm and hand and core are working really hard. But I love it. I refused all offers of help, nicely, simply saying that if they help me I will lose the ability to do this myself. One person was so insistent that I had to tell them that I loved doing what I was doing, even though it was slow, so please don’t try to take it away from me.
I made the Air Canada desk and pulled off to the side and then waited for Joe to arrive. I sat for about 5 minutes before an airport security person, a really nice fellow, came and asked if he could talk to me for a minute. I said yes. He asked my why I pushed myself and refused assistance, someone thought that maybe there was something in my luggage that I didn’t want people near. I told him that there was something in me that I wanted people to see, my strength and determination.
He asked a few more questions and then apologized for having to bother me, “people sometimes don’t understand what they see’ he said. I introduced him to Joe, who had arrived and we were done. I told Joe, who wanted to know the whole story, that I was a suspicious cripple because I hadn’t been or done what cripples, in the minds of others, do. I didn’t suck up pity and spew out gratitude.
When we got to the gate, I headed off to the family/accessible bathroom, which I knew I could negotiate without Joe’s help. I went in and did what required hand-washing afterwards, and then turned my chair so I could get out. When the door opened there were two women chatting standing off to the side and one of them ran to get the door for me. I’m a man, coming out of a washroom, I find this really intrusive. I asked her to let the door go, she said she didn’t mind, I said I did. She let go and I rolled back to the gate.
‘Expect security, I peed without assistance,’ I said.
Thank heavens she didn’t report me, suspicious cripple that I am.