Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wheelchairs don't affect hearing

A common phrase that parents say to their kids is, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all."

I have a new phrase I would like to propose: "If you want to say something bad about someone, don't pretend that person is deaf."

Today, I was waiting for a Vancouver-bound bus at Park Royal in West Vancouver. Since it is summertime, there were a lot of young people at the stop who were enjoying their freedom from school. There was a group of teen boys nearby; one of the boys had an injured ankle and was using crutches.

Since the Park Royal stop is a bit narrow and it is difficult for bus drivers to be able to see wheelchair-using passengers through the crowd, I decided to head towards the bus stop pole. I passed by this group. They didn't seem to notice me at first. But then they did, and what I heard next was simply astounding.

One of the teenagers said, "I hate it when a wheelchair has to get on the bus."

The teenager with the crutches said, "I know. They're a bunch of assholes. I've been in a wheelchair before. It's not that bad. They're just making it seem worse than it is."

And they did this about two metres from me, in plain earshot. They did not even try to hide what they were talking about -- no lowering their volumes or speaking in hushed voices. It was blunt and direct, and offensive in the worst way possible.

This reminds me so much of some of the tweets I see on Twitter over and over again, every single week:

Why wheelchair ppl only wanna get on da bus when im late son..wheel yaself to ya destinationless than a minute ago via twidroyd Favorite Retweet Reply

Idk why people in a wheelchair get on the bus I mean they can drive themselves wherever they need to goless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

Anytime I'm running late the person in the wheelchair want to get on my bus. Roll ya ass to where u need to go !less than a minute ago via Tweetlogix Favorite Retweet Reply

Every time I do a search on Twitter looking for content to re-tweet, I come across these all the time. Actually, I could care less about these people because they obviously do not have the reasoning skills to think about what wheelchair users go through. But if you have these kind of thoughts, keep them to yourself. Do not go around saying these things out loud, especially in front of the person you are talking about who has normal hearing.

That teenager has ZERO idea what it is like, yet he not only runs his mouth but also belittles people with disabilities. He obviously has no idea how to treat his fellow human beings. By the looks of it, he is nearing the final years of high school. It is time for him to grow up and be more mature.