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To the Woman Who Judged Me for Getting Out of My Mobility Scooter to Reach Groceries

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By the nasty look you gave me, I’m assuming my ability to momentarily get out of the scooter I was using offended you. Not that it is any of your business, but I needed that scooter to be able to get around the store to purchase groceries. Stores aren’t exactly set up to be accessible to people with mobility issues, so from time to time I have to get up in order to get a product that is beyond my reach. I’m also assuming that since I look “fine” you must think I am just being lazy by using a scooter. Well, here are a few things you should know…


No, I do not have cancer. However, I do have a couple of autoimmune disorders, and the treatment I’m currently receiving has side effects very similar to those of chemotherapy. As a matter of fact, I am on a low dose chemotherapy that I inject myself with once a week. When that treatment stopped helping and my inflammation levels were sky high from my body attacking itself, the doctor added a new medication by infusion to my already extensive medication regimen. This drug works like chemo in that it kills cells…in my case, white blood cells (T-cells), the “military” cells that attack when you’re exposed to germs or bacteria. Because of this, my immune system is very compromised right now and I have to wear a mask in public to keep from getting sick. You and any germs you are carrying could cause the common cold to become a severe infection like pneumonia to me. This medication also causes severe nausea and extreme fatigue, just like chemotherapy does. There are some days I can barely lift my head and body just to go to the bathroom (recently this has been most days).

With that said, life goes on. I still need groceries just like everyone else. When I’m having a good day and am able to walk around the store, I do. However, with my body exhausted from the constant internal battle with my immune system and the constant pain, there are days when walking around the store just isn’t an option. And if I need something I can’t reach, then I must stand up and get it.

Maybe it would make you more comfortable if I could afford a personal shopper to buy and deliver my groceries for me, but I can’t. Maybe you think I should just sit there until someone walks by and then ask them to get the product for me. And maybe if I “looked sick” you wouldn’t have thought twice about the fact that I was using a scooter. Well, I’m sorry to burst your presumptive little bubble, but there are many, many people who fight invisible battles with their health, and I am one of them. I will not apologize for being sick because it’s nothing I did to myself and I sure didn’t ask for it to happen to me. I also will not apologize for using a scooter in order to get around to get the things I need, nor for having to stand up to reach something.

I am, however, sorry that you weren’t taught empathy for others. I’m sorry you felt the need to judge me unfairly. But most of all I’m sorry for the next person who has to deal with your rude ignorance.

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Thinkstock photo via eternalcreative.

Originally published: October 3, 2017
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