What not to do or say to someone in a wheelchair

wheels of steel

In the years I have been in my chair I have had a number of things being said or happen to me by others, none of it being malicious, it seems that some people just go into brain fart mode and become a little socially inept around the wheels of steel!

This is not a moan but what I actually find humorous about the world around us and people in it.

What not to do:

  • I realise I have awesome hair. But there really is no need to start stroking me like a dog while I’m in the queue at M&S waiting to buy my big girl pants!!
  • No, it is not appropriate if I am on the dance floor to come up and start spinning me around without asking. It spills my drink.
  • Please don’t use my wheelchair, especially when I’m sat in it as a place to hang your handbags or coats. I am not a coat rack on wheels!
  • Complete strangers coming up and Straddling me is not appropriate. End of.
  • Walking past me and patting me on the head, it’s just a bit weird and not a normal greeting to any human or any animal come to think of it!!

What not to say:

  • “When my legs get tired later I’ll sit on your lap for a lift”….Yeah…No you won’t!
  • “Oooo careful mind my toes” and then laughing hysterically. I will only run over your toes if you get in my way, otherwise I am a very good driver thank you very much, well apart from being visually impaired but that’s a whole other story.
  • An American guy walked passed me while I was waiting with my friend at reception to book into the hotel we were staying at and gave me the thumbs up and said “good work champ”…..Champ!!! Well that’s a first.
  • You have only just met me and your first question is “how long have you been in a wheelchair?” Well my friend how long have you been standing?
  • Please don’t threaten to let my tyres down and laugh while saying it. Do you see me laughing, it’s not funny!
  • “Vroom”………That’s my line!
  • “Do you have L plates for that?”.. hahahhahaaaaaa….No
  • My personal favourite “My heart goes out to people like you, normally people like you get depressed and die”…..Really!! Luckily I am a happy go lucky kinda girl and at this point of the evening had a number of vodka and tonics in me to smile sweetly and say “Thank you, I think!”

To be honest children are my absolute favourites, with their complete innocence. When they come up and start asking me questions “Why don’t your legs work?”, “Do you sit down all the time?”, as you see their mum cowering behind a clothing rack.

Or when they come up and hug me for no reason, maybe it’s because I’m face to face height, it’s the cutest thing and I like hugs.

On a serious note, please remember to think about what you say and do to all, just be kind.

Much Love

BellesWheels XOXO

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18 thoughts on “What not to do or say to someone in a wheelchair

  1. Love this Belle, the brief time I was in a wheelchair I was shocked how differently I was treated. The “poor you” looks, yes the head patting…what is that?
    My little boy is now 6, and often asks why people use wheelchairs and why their legs don’t work, or why I sometimes use a stick. Innocence of children is brilliant.

    Looking forward tk reading the next installment xxx

  2. Allan Mackay

    How long have you been in a wheelchair and what happened lv been in one for a year and a half and can’t get my head round it any advice thanks

    1. Hey Allan. Sorry to hear your finding it hard to get your head around. TBH it is. Especially when you have been used to being up right. I fell ill with a Rare Illness 12 years ago and still have my rough days. It’s only natural. I would suggest trying to love each day at a time, aim to have fun things planned, don’t put too much pressure on yourself (I need to take my own advice there). When you feel rubbish allow yourself that moment but always let that moment pass. I meditate, do Qigong and have found both to, have helped me dramatically. My email address is on my blog so please contact me if you ever need a chat. It’s good to have people you can talk too x

  3. Hannah Sifton

    This is such an ace blog! So honest & humerous (your comments not other people’s fart mode comments 😂). Haven’t seen you in years but lots of love x ❤️

  4. Mark Duffy

    Annabelle….. i make a point of not messaging in Facebook these days, but more than happy to do it here! Great article – funny, and eye-opening to cluelessness! Keep up the great writing, and i shall keep reading! Hope you are doing well back home…. looking forward to popping back sometime soon for a catch up drink with you and Jamie!

  5. Lisa S.

    I walk (poorly) with a walker. I had a doctor call it a stroller . I think he thought he was being funny not mean. Like you wisely said “brain farts”!!!!! Thanks for your thoughts in your great blog!

  6. Bonnie Carney

    Congrats on creating this awesome blog! Well written, and I appreciate the raw truth! I look forward to hearing more about your experiences. I believe the general public needs to hear a lot more about how to interact with people and their chairs. If they don’t know anyone who uses a wheelchair, I think they may just not know what to do (or not do, I see!). People get really awkward and dumb when they feel socially challenged. You are in a wonderful position to enlighten us! Sending love!

  7. Mary

    I really enjoyed reading this ! I’m not to far from having a wheelchair myself. You helped me to prepare for the unknown with an incredible sense of humor ! I look forward to seeing more !

  8. Susan

    I’ve been high fived by complete strangers on more than one occasion!? I’ve also been spun around the dance floor like I’m a toy car! My niece is the best, she’s 4 years old and announces to people regularly with the nod of her head in my direction “she can’t walk” then a nod in my dogs direction “and he can’t talk” 😂😂😂

  9. Rachel Moore

    We loved reading this Annabelle, made us laugh out loud! Although sometimes it is hard to believe people really do say what they do. You have a real way with words!!! We are looking forward to your next post.

  10. It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that
    you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date
    like this. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Pingback: Tales from the Wheels!! – BellesWheels

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