To the Woman on the Bus Sitting in a Disability Seat Because She Was 'Tired'
A while ago I was waiting for the bus, and it took a while to get on because this lady wouldn’t get up because she was tired. Luckily some other people from the other mobility spaces got up, but I’m not always going to be that lucky, because I live in a major city where there are plenty of wheelchair users who take the bus, and that space she occupied would be the only one I could take. She, on the way to our destinations, talked loudly about how she was tired and how I should just wait for the next bus. This is my letter to her.
I know it’s an inconvenience for you that I have to take the bus, but I need to because I cannot drive. At the time I was riding the bus I wasn’t seizure free, and to this day I still don’t know how to drive. It’s an extreme inconvenience to me having to wait for another bus, not knowing if the spaces are taken by wheelchair users or people like you who sit in the disabled spaces but won’t get up. If I can’t be sure I can catch the next bus, I could be in major trouble trying to get home after a busy day or trying to get to the doctor’s office on time. Missing an appointment can be very bad for my health, and could result in a hospital visit.
I know you don’t know this but, if seats lift, don’t sit. Those seats are prioritized for people like me who use wheelchairs, scooters or walkers or are disabled. For many of us, it’s a fire hazard and even downright dangerous to make us sit out of those spaces. That’s if we even can get out of the wheelchair in the first place.
I know you are tired. I am too, but please do not take it out on me. I shouldn’t have to wait for another bus if there’s a spot for me on there, just like you shouldn’t have to wait for another bus if there’s a seat on the bus you can sit in.
I have MCTD, and for me my joints hurt. A lot. Sometimes I’m in excruciating pain and have to use a wheelchair, but sometimes I don’t need to use the wheelchair and I prefer not to because it’s a pain to get around sometimes. I often find myself having to find the accessible entrance or the elevator.
I also would like it if you kept your ranting to yourself, because it’s very hurtful for people like me, and adds to the mental strain of being disabled. I’m not disabled by my body, but by society who ignores me to the point where entrances are hidden, or I am a victim of gatekeeping because I don’t fit society’s expectations of what a disabled person looks like, acts like or sounds like.
A wheelchair user
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Thinkstock photo via TeerawatWinyarat.