Being Aware of the Handicapped

Beth on a Knee ScooterAs most of you know, I was out of the office for two months because I had a “drastic” bunionectomy.  I was lucky that I wasn’t in pain and I had a knee scooter so I could be quite independent in the house. However, when I was finally able to venture outside, I saw the world with different eyes:

  1. People run into Starbucks and do not realize there is a handicapped person behind them, so doors get slammed on one’s face. It is also hard to close doors behind you.
  1. Handicapped bathrooms are used by everyone, even if other stalls are empty. It is still hard to lock the stall door. Even if there is a handicapped stall, sometimes it is hard to open the main restroom door.
  1. If one is on a knee scooter, ramps can be very scary. Luckily I had a brake or would have been in an accident. I built up my “good” leg when I had to push uphill. Getting from doors to the parking lot over curbs or getting from the parking lot into places of business over curbs and up steps and over thresholds are a problem.
  1. Venues are not handicapped friendly. Segerstrom has lots of stairs and it is hard to go in the elevator that is packed with people stuffed like sardines. I’d warn that you better get there very early to find your seat. At SCR I had to “give up” my scooter until the end of the performance and wait for the audience to clear out before it was returned to me. Hollywood Bowl has handicap seating, but I reserved my seat before the surgery. Therefore, they would not let me have my scooter nearby. It had to be parked in front of the section and I was afraid it was going to be stolen. Plan on not seeing the end of a concert or you’ll be mobbed with fans running for their busses and will get knocked over.
  1. It is very irritating to run into people/friends/acquaintances that offer medical advice. I think I heard more bunion/feet surgeries than I needed to know. Do not offer medical advice, especially if you are not a doctor.

My “handicap” was short lived. However, people with disabilities go through these problems every day of their lives and we should be more empathetic. As reported by Census 2000, nearly one in five people in the U.S. lives with a disability. According to the Americans with Disability Act, a “disability” is an impairment that substantially reduces one or more major life activities. Common Courtesy is an old-fashioned phrase that we should practice. I learned from my experience and will continue to slow down and help the handicapped.

By the way, if any of our readers need to borrow a knee scooter, I have one handy.


  1. 25 April 2017
    Tony Ceballos

    I’m sure working with a handicap was an eye opener. I think of my brother-in-law who lived his adult life with only one arm (high school football injury caused one to be removed). He lived his live to the fullest and never considered himself handicapped. In later life he suffered a stroke that affected the side his arm was on and left him completely dependent on others for everyday events. His life changed but his attitude did not, he never complains and still counts being alive as a blessing. I don’t know that I could do that if it were me. But thanks to him I have become more aware of people around me with handicaps and I try to go out of my way to offer assistance.

    I am so glad that you have been able to return back to work and a more normal life. Keep traveling too!

    • 28 April 2017
      Beth Waterman

      I remember your brother Al. He is an inspiration.

  2. 28 April 2017

    I feel this! I’m in a boot and crutches while my broken ankle heals. I am very aware now of the difficulties riding public transportation, navigating city streets, etc. I’m also incredibly grateful for all of the kind people who make way or make it easier — especially my husband and son who have been great.

    • 28 April 2017
      Beth Waterman

      I wish you lived nearer; you could borrow my scooter. Have a safe weekend. Rest your ankle.

  3. 29 April 2017
    Terry Betts

    As a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence (, I have come to know many people with disabilities. One of their major complaints is the insensitivity of people around their dogs. These dogs are working, and people go up to pet the animal without asking, trying to get it’s attention away from the handler, any even offering food! The worst, of course, is bringing their unbehaved and untrained little toy, complete with vest and ‘credentials’ (available on the web for $$), and creating havoc in the store, restaurant, etc. Many of my disabled friends, with their well behaved, trained dogs, have gotten dirty looks, tried to have been denied access, or even have had their dog attacked by these Imposters.
    There are only two questions that can be asked per the ADA (American with Disabilities Act): “Is that a service dog?” and “What service has it been trained to perform?”, although, a misbehaving animal can be asked to be removed, as long as the client is still served.
    Sorry for my rant, but this is something close to my heart. I feel for you, Beth, as I was also on that dang scooter for 2 months a couple of years ago, after breaking and dislocating multiple bones in my foot. My right foot, so I could even drive! Yuck.

    • 1 May 2017
      Beth Waterman

      So glad you responded. Lately I have seen so many “service dogs” that I know are not really “service dogs”. Actually, that is fraud and the people should be ashamed of themselves.

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