When Someone Went the Extra Mile to Include Me as a Person With a Disability
Living with a physical disability is not an easy feat. On good days it can make you feel a little left behind and on bad days, you’re often left feeling straight up unwanted. Of course no one ever says these things to you outright, but you can see it when you’re forced to take the elevator by yourself instead of the stairs with all your friends, or when the new restaurant you want to try doesn’t have tables that accommodate a wheelchair. Or when building entrances aren’t level and doors have buttons that don’t work. Sure they tried, but to most, accessibility is merely an afterthought. Access to the world is something so many take for granted and what a select few must grapple and struggle with daily. However, my story today isn’t about how I was left out, but rather about someone who went the extra mile to let me in.
I’m a university student and one of my friends (let’s call him M) invited me to go out clubbing. I laughed. How on earth was I supposed go clubbing? Right away I told him “I’m sorry I can’t come, thank you for the invite but I just don’t see how I would be able to do that.” I thought that was the end of it.
A few days later I got a message.
“Hi, you don’t know me but I’m J, M’s girlfriend. He was telling me about how you had turned down the invite for this weekend because you were concerned about accessibility.” I responded that yes, I was concerned. I told her I doubted I would even be able to get into the building.
She messaged me back. “I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of calling up a few clubs in the area and asking if they were wheelchair accessible. I found two that say they are. I understand if you are still uncomfortable coming out with us, but if accessibility is your only concern, you don’t have to stress about that, I’ve taken care of it.”
I was so touched. Here was a girl I had never met before, someone who didn’t even know who I was. Yet despite that, she went out of her way to make sure I could have a fun night out with my friends. She took the burden that was usually placed squarely upon my shoulders and bore some of it for me. I don’t know if she ever realized how much what she did meant to me. She gave me an experience I thought I was doomed never to have.
I went clubbing that night: clubbing in a wheelchair. J came through on her promise and that evening I danced my heart out, disability be damned.
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Getty image by Shironosov.