Right, you be me and I’ll be you.
I’m in HSBC, I’m on my own about to meet some friends an hour later for dinner in town. I need to get some cash out for my taxis for the week for work. I decide I’m sick of forgetting to get cash each day and opt to get a lump sum for the week. I raise my chair high and put my card into the ATM machine. I specifically remember mentally giving myself a pat on the back for doing such a smooth transition from chair low to raising high to swivelling sideways to reach the buttons (that are ridiculously tall by the way).
I get a bit nervy getting a bit of a large amount out of the bank but weigh up the benefits and see it as being productive. After pressing the right keys with my grabber, the machine spits my card. I stretch out for it, hold it between my little finger and the next finger whilst I reach for my money with the same hand my grabber in the opposite hand. I also drive with my elbow to make this as smooth as possible. I’m absolutely bossing it. #multitasking.
That is until the new shiney plastic notes I’m folding into my purse suddenly spring ALL OVER THE FLOOR.
That’s right ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY POUNDS – scattered like confetti on the floor.
My immediate reaction is to smirk, because I panic and think that showing I look cool as a cucumber is the right thing to do at this moment in time(!?). I know ridiculous. I HATE looking vulnerable in public though. Now for people who don’t know me – just to set the scene, I’m 2 foot 11, have short limbs, use a wheelchair and have no way of standing on the floor. Can you see my dilemma?
I’m sweating in my bright yellow rain coat, looking around and see no staff near me. Then it dawns on me that I will have to ask a member of the public to ever so kindly pass me back all of my money. You couldn’t write it… (terrible pun, sorry).
Now I’m a trustworthy person, but this is a bit of a test isn’t it? I look around, how do you know who to trust? First of all I know what you’re thinking… no one offered to help. I don’t know whether it’s the stress of a bank and everyone’s got their own problems but yep no one helped. I look around and see a man about my dad’s age. He has a flat cap on and a bag crossed over this body. I weakly smile at him and he smiles back. I’m just going to go for it.
‘Excuse me, please could you pass me my money without nicking it?’
The man looks at me puzzled and I point to the floor. His eyes widen…
This is it, my money is gone.
“oh wow, yes hold on”
Next he is on one knee picking up each note very slowly and handing each one to me whislt looking round – probably trying to mentally communicate with the public that he is not stealing from a young disabled woman. I take the money, fold it tightly and do the zip as quick as I can whilst saying thank you as many times as possible. Phew.
So thank goodness this has a good end. But it did make me realise how much I rely on everyday kindness but also that I have to trust the general public a lot. A lot of people get nervous about asking disabled people if they need any help. And I get it because we’re all people and we all react in different ways to that question which will stick with you forever. But for me personally, I LOVE when people ask me if I need help. If I say no, don’t worry I’ve got this but I really do appreciate your offer.
And to the man who will never read this, thanks for not stealing my money.
Anyone else had a sticky situation like this? It happens to us all…
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