One of the hardest things for me to do when I was younger was learn to ask for help. Disabled or not we all have to ask someone to lend a hand every now and then. It can happen at any time. Whether it’s when you’re sat in class at school, the first day of your new job when you’re so nervous you’re almost too scared to move in case you knock something over, never mind ask someone to explain something again, or needing to ask directions in a new place. Okay, maybe not as many of us worry about being clumsy (like me), but I think you get my point. Admitting you’re not Superman is hard at first. It does get better though, honest.
Earlier this week I took my walking frame Martha on her first proper trip to city. I went alone so I didn’t have my parents of any of my friends with me who are always more than willing to come to my aid. If I needed something I was going to have to either speak up or struggle.
I booked my rail assistance 24hrs in advance so that I could give staff at both of the train stations I used that day plenty of notice that I’d be around and I’d need assistance with the ramps to help get me on and off the train. Luckily I use both of these regularly, one being my local station and the other being a connecting station I used on my many trips to and from university. It also happens to be one of my favoured shopping hangouts so it’s fair to say I’m there quite often. The people who work at them both recognise me and what helps me best quite well now. A lot of the conductors know my face too, and even the driver on one of my more regular routes knows who I am the so all this is really reassuring. It’s nice to see a few friendly faces, especially if I’m nervous about my trip for whatever reason. If my plans ever change last minute they’ll always try their best to help me get earlier or later trains which is really helpful.
While I was out and about I had to smile sweetly at a few passersby and ask them to help me open the doors in the coffee shop where I had lunch, pick something up that I had dropped on the floor and couldn’t reach (told you I’m clumsy, didn’t I?) or help me put my shopping into bags at the checkout. Once upon a time I would have been too shy (not proud, but shy) to ask a stranger to do me a favour. Then, as I got older I realised that I was only asking someone to help me with small things and not to give me the moon on a stick. It took me a long time to realise that we all need help sometimes. Watching my friends all do things for each other at school and even more so when I went to uni that no one lives a truly independent life. All humans are interdependent on each other in some way. For example, that same day I spotted a lady in the supermarket asking a fellow shopper to get something down off a high shelf for her. I smiled to myself knowingly as he obliged.
It’s very rare that someone won’t help if I ask, and that’s mostly when they’re in a rush themselves so I can’t blame them. More often than not, people will do what they can and then walk away with smile on their face feeling happy that they’ve done a good turn.