To the Walmart Employee Who Rolled His Eyes When I Asked for Help

I understand — I look young and healthy to you.

The fact is I’m not. And no, you can’t see that I’m fighting a constant battle with my body. See, I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I’ve also had Cauda equina syndrome, which resulted in a spinal cord injury, along with epilepsy.

I simply asked you to put a 24-pack of water in my cart.

You rolled your eyes, sighed and did so for me. As you walked away you stated, “You would have been fine doing it yourself.” Well, I can’t. Because of the Ehlers-Danlos, lifting anything — especially something as heavy as a case of water — can dislocate my joints. Because of my spinal cord injury, I’ve a hard time balancing. I could have very well ended up falling and dislocating my hip. I could have fell just the right way and, because part of my spinal cord isn’t protected correctly, ended up paralyzed.

I understand when working in retail customers can make your day horrible (believe me, I know from working at a grocery store). Oh, that’s another thing I forgot to mention: if I’d gotten hurt putting that case of water in the cart, I could have been out of work for weeks or months. I could have ended up in the operating room.

Please, next time anyone asks you for help, help them. If your attitude intimidates them into trying to do it themselves, it could cause a trip to the emergency room or worse. For those of us with invisible disabilities, our lives can often change in an instant. Please don’t make it harder.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or illness during the holiday season, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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