On the way in, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly gentleman, walking slowly with a cane. Several young people came up behind him, and kept on going, never slowed down a bit. At almost a run, they swerved around him, missing him by only inches. As they went on in front of them, they started at an all-out run, laughing as they went. The elderly man had stopped completely, waiting to see if any more were coming behind him, and if he was about to be run into. I stopped, waiting for him to get ahead of me, and decided to be a shield for him so he could make it to a cart, before he went in.
While in the store, in the midst of trying to find an ingredient for a recipe I was going to try, I saw a man in a wheelchair, with a small basket in front of his steering device. It had a few things in it, but not much. I noticed he had to stop every few feet, because people were walking past him, and then in front of him, and he was unable to keep going. If he did, he would hit someone. I thought to myself, “this must be exhausting to him.” The look on his face told me I was right.
As I was standing in line at the checkout, I noticed the same gentleman I had shielded coming up to a line several feet away from me. People, being as they are on a weekend, did not notice he was having difficulty going as fast as they would have liked. I could see, and he knew also, that those around him were impatiently waiting. Because of being self-conscious; he was stumbling with his groceries, and dropping some back into the basket. No one offered to help him.
By the time I had checked out, and was traveling back to my truck, I had witnessed several events that are repeated everywhere, multiple times by the elderly, and those with disabilities, and had gotten just a tiny glimpse of what they have to endure every day, in just one kind of situation. What really came to me though, was these people have to live like this every day. They have no choice in the matter.
The thoughtlessness, impatience, and outright cruelty of some people was magnified to me in this one simple trip to the store. It was an eye-opening experience.
The next time you see a disabled person in a store, or an elderly person with difficulty keeping up with everyone else, put yourself in their place; just within the time frame of where you are. It will open your eyes as well (I hope), and hopefully your heart.