01 10 / 2013
The biggest challenge ableism presents for me is not whether I am included or excluded, or even whether I am judged. The biggest challenge ableism presents is the temptation to shut the doors of my heart and not open them unless the situation seems safe.
Today, on my way to dinner with a friend, I encountered a bus driver who was discourteous about the steps she would have to take to accommodate my scooter on the bus. I was frustrated. I began to think of all the times bus drivers have made barriers for me with their attitudes. It begins to sound in my thoughts as though this ALWAYS happens, with EVERY DRIVER.
After dinner, I got on the first bus to go home. I put my money in the fare box and set about turning my scooter around and parking in the designated spot. The bus driver forgot to give me a transfer; I forgot to ask him for one. When I went to get on the second bus, I thought for a moment about what to do. I told her directly,
"I put a dollar in the box on the 70 bus, but the driver forgot to give me a transfer because he was helping me get situated."
She nodded. Then she did something I was not expecting. At all. She got a transfer from the fare box and gave it to me. This was kind. This was an open heart that chose to believe my story, even if it was a little goofy. She reminded me to keep my heart open for the business of life.