Living with a Disability: most ridiculous FAQs and opening lines

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My favorite moment

My daughter's stepmother and I had taken her into a bathroom at DisneyWorld (she is paraplegic due to a rare neurological disorder and uses a powerchair) and some able person was using the ONLY handicapped stall. Step-mom banged on the door and commented but we proceeded to an empty stall. The woman came out looking ashamed and guilty, and muttering her excuses. We had moved on to take care of our daughter's needs.

Kat more than 9 years ago

That awkward moment...

when people find out I'm a blackbelt or something awesome despite requiring a leg brace and say, "well if you can do it the rest of us have no excuse." and I'm just like, "No you can't. Cripple or not you're just not as cool as I am."

Derek more than 9 years ago

Confined to a wheelchair

I am a wheelchair user following a stroke, and what I dislike most is that when I'm shopping, the shopkeepers do not talk to me - they talk to whoever is with me. I am very insulted by this. Just because my legs don't work doesn't mean my brain doesn't!
I am tempted to reply, "I am intelligent, I speak English, and I'm PAYING!"
They are possibly trying to think what to say to me, but I cannot avoid being VERY insulted by them. It is time people learned that not every wheelchair user is stupid, and that some of us actually do speak English, and commit the cardinal sin of thinking. Poor souls, one has to pity them. They are the odd ones, not the wheelchair user.

Barbi Lucas more than 9 years ago

The things people say

This is exactly why I wrote my new book Zoomingmamma - Always On The Go! Not only is it a true story about my life with Cerebral Palsy, but it depicts some of the misconceptions people have, for example because I have slurred speech, people think I am retarded or drunk. With my book I hope to change people's outlook and attitudes towards people with disabilities. It is always easier to look at someone and assume they can't do something rather than take the time to get to know the person and realize all they can do. For example, friends of my parents gave me a dog because they assumed I would never have a child and gave me the gift because they felt I needed something to care for. I welcomed the gift BUT never gave up on my dream of finding a husband, having a child and living a "normal" life. My book is appropriate for all ages and is available here:

Christine Regber-Martens more than 9 years ago

your book

How can I get a copy of your book I am almost 29 years old and has cerebral palsy also I'm very interested in reading it

hannah more than 9 years ago

Too Young to be Disabled

I need a crutch to walk with, and know that, assuming I don't get flattened by a bus before I get there, the day will come when I will be in a wheelchair, as my disability is degenerative albeit very slow. I have a disabled parking badge. I am a youngish looking 37 year old (my condition actually slows visible signs of aging - there's always an upside!), and when behind the wheel of my car I look perfectly "normal". I'm dismayed at the number of times I've been stopped by little old ladies in supermarket car parks - before I've managed to get out of the car - who proudly tell me I'm not allowed to use the disabled bays or even have a parking badge because I'm not old enough. Apparently only the elderly can be disabled.

Bridie more than 10 years ago

Too Young to be Disabled

I have a similar problem - except its public-transport related. Although I can walk and stand, its difficult for me to do so and so I use the allocated disabled seating if possible. I'm 25 and not obviously disabled once I'm seated and my body is supported. The dilemma of giving up my seat for someone older, and my fear of someone "telling me off" if I don't, is always a worry. I tend to just give up the seat before anything is said because I feel shamed or guilty if I don't, even if the older person can stand OK.

Amy more than 9 years ago


I hate being in my wheelchair when we come across a person handing out fliers, they will hand it to my husband even though hes the one pushing my wheelchair so both hands are occupied, he hates how I'm completely ignored

Alison more than 10 years ago


That happened just on Saturday outside a Burger hubbie felt just the same

Dawnie more than 9 years ago


I have Cerebral Palsy I heard Them Some People Think We Are Aliens Its Crazy! I Also Get Mistaken For Being Drunk alot haha

Reece more than 10 years ago


I am blind with a guide dog and people often say to me "you don't look blind" So I now ask what does a blind person look like Stevie Wonder! You have to laugh!

Zena GaveyBlindasabat more than 10 years ago

Love It... Brilliant!!!

This is really brilliant, I just love it!... It's really funny .... and true! I was literally Laughing Out Loud

Kaz Laljee (Positive About MS) more than 10 years ago

I was out with a group of friends

in a pub, many years ago and a man said to me I think its wonderful what your're doing. I stared at him blankly and asked him what he meant, bringing these people out, I was like wtf? I hadnt took anyone out but in our group were a couple of wheelchair users, a deaf/blind person and another person with a physical disability. I politely told him they were my friends and he walked away!

V. Morgan more than 10 years ago


To prove a point I got my friend to go to the bottom of my street and back in my wheelchair. He gave up after he fell over half way along.

Also, I feel that the brilliant line of - 'You use a wheelchair!!' when talking to someone online needs to be stated. Obviously disabled people can only use the internet when assisted with a small monkey to do the typing. You know, like the organ grinder ones? My monkey just lost his hat laughing at this, so I have to take a break now. Thank you for making me giggle x

Alison Wood more than 10 years ago

You're beautiful, screw them

I was paralyzed for a few years after chemotherapy left me with a weak immune system. Basically, I just started walking again with a cane (after years of physical therapy) but have heard all of those way too often. Most people really suck, you just gotta find the ones that don't. You seem incredibly strong, so don't let what people say hurt you.

It's honestly shocking to know that so many people don't know how to act around a person who is different than themselves.

Roni more than 10 years ago

Been there, stayed for the second feature....

What I love is peoples inability to call my wheelchair a wheelchair. I've had people ask me about my buggy. (Sadly no whip included.) I've had it called a stroller, a wagon, a giddyup and many more. My all time least favorite question about the buggy...opps I mean wheelchair is when people ask "So when was the last time you got a ticket in that thing?" OMG that is so funny I've fallen out of my F'ing chair. Please call the fire department to help me get back in my rig! Seriously ABs are clueless.

Drew more than 10 years ago

Sadly All Too Familiar

Sometimes people will say the first thing that pops into their heads. Sometimes they are genuinely ignorant and sometimes they think they are being witty. Sometimes it's hard to tell which!

Kaat more than 10 years ago

I too use a wheelchair

I agree people get really stupied around me and more than once people talk very slowly and loudly to me like I can't understand what they are staying just because I use a wheelchair. \

Kelli Hughes more than 10 years ago

Not Today!

I was told when challenging a healthy person parking in the single Handicap space "but today is Sunday, parking restrictions don't apply!"

Jose more than 10 years ago

OMG. What a scream

Good god. People say the most god awful things! What I like the most are you pithy asides back at them in your head. LOL. No. 5, 6, 10 and 11.. Bloody hell. God, people are stupid! Dumber than a box of rocks. Thanks, that was a very funny article, even though I know it had it's serious point as well. :-) Aloha Meg :-)

Meg Amor more than 10 years ago

If I had a penny for every daft comment

I use 2 walking sticks but also have a wheelchair for when I leave the house and for days which are particularly painful. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard all of the above while in my chair. I just shrug it off to be honest. People are ignorant of what they do not understand. There have been many occasions where I have heard parents shhhh-ing their children when they want to learn about why I am in my chair. I would much rather parents are more forward and explain that some people need to use wheelchairs for lots of reasons and give examples rather than making it something that you just don't talk about. I try to teach my son that everyone is different but it doesn't mean we are not all the same. Accepting everyone for who they are. Maybe that's just me.

I think the biggest issue I have with the attitude of other people though is the way that if someone walks into the path of my wheel hair when someone else is with me, they say sorry to whoever I am with, not me! It's wonderful how my wheelchair has the ability to make me invisible to adults and make me stand out to children.

Educate the kids. W

kyleigh more than 10 years ago

Thumbs up


Nathan more than 10 years ago

Heh .

Lucky you, Kyleigh! When people walk into the path of my wheelchair, most of the time not only do they fail to apologise, they accuse me of being the person at fault! It's even worse when I encounter mums with buggies - especially the stupidly gigantic ones - because I often find they don't look where they're going, they bang into me, then rant at me about how it's all my fault, that I should never have been allowed to leave the house, least of all by myself, and all sorts of other verbal abuse...

Not to mention all the occasions when people "accidentally" run into me and cause me serious injuries - on one depressingly memorable occasion, I incurred 5 joint dislocations in 15 minutes at the hands of 3 separate people, only one of whom even stopped, let alone apologised!

The first hit my left arm - <em>hard</em> - with her handbag. Frankly, it felt like she was carrying half a brick in there - she swung the bag along over her forearm, casual as you like, and slammed it squarely into the joint of my left elbow, which dislocated the elbow with a loud <em>crack!</em> - I yelped in unexpected pain, and called after her (in mild shock). She never even looked round, the sod!

Second, the lady who <em>did</em> apologise, and was thankfully very kind to me... she hit my right hand, settled on the controls, squarely with her shoulder bag, dislocating three of my fingers. I cried out in pain, and she gasped and stopped in her tracks, and gave me an extensive apology (a very pleasant change from the norm!).

So I put my fingers back in and carried on towards my bus stop. There was nobody in front of me so I pulled my chair up to full (4mph) speed and headed for the door of the bus ... only to have this unknown guy decide to dash in ahead of me! He caught the edge of his heel underneath one of my front wheels (the edge of the shoe, I'm fairly certain, as he never paused and I think he would have been hurt had it been his foot). Anyway, his catching his shoe tipped the chair up and back sharply, suddenly, though fortunately not too far back - and that slammed me back down so hard it jolted my left hip out of place. Hurt like a bugger, too. And did he apologise, or even turn round to look to see what he'd done? Of course he didn't.

And those are just some of the "accidental" ones. Don't get me started on the footie fans who spat on me for no apparent reason, or the teenage boys who threw clumps of dirt at me in the street while I passed by them, or the elderly man who body-slammed me & spouted delightful verbal abuse at me whilst boarding a bus (dislocated shoulder, hip, jaw & wrist), simply because he was of the opinion I was too young to be using a cane (as I was at the time) and made it loudly known to everyone on the bus... (And no, none of them helped me.)

All this has happened since the coalition came into power and started their disgusting and sickening propaganda campaign with their "scroungers" rhetoric. It feels like 1930s Germany here now D:

Trialia more than 10 years ago

Good attitude!

Before recent retirement work for many years with disabled (ABI) but also have slight mobility problems myself. I love your take on everything as I think the disabled person can do a great deal to 'educate' the non disabled by their own manner. Humour I have always found is the best leveller. One of my dearest friends never fails to leave an impact on everyone she meets, her personality stands out way above her disability. She loves life & she loves people , animals . Your son has a brilliant Mum. X

Sue Mitchell more than 10 years ago


Also, "been in the wars?" cos apparently a young woman must be using mobility aids because she's injured herself rather than having contracted a hellishly painful and exhausting medical condition...

Helen more than 10 years ago

I use a mobility scooter

I've heard most of these and more.

Celia more than 10 years ago


Q: "How long have you been in the chair?" A: "Since about 8 AM this morning."
Q: "Did you have an accident?" A: "No, I just farted!"

Mark more than 10 years ago


I must tell my daughter this one!!! Brilliant! She got told she was.really clever despite the wheelchair- she looked up innocently and said "mums right ignorance is debilitating!" Proud mummy moment lol

corinne more than 10 years ago


I nearly lost my dinner laughing at that reply to "Did you have an accident?" I have had that asked so many times on my mobility scooter and when I use my crutches. I will sure remember these answers as the questions drive me nuts.

Gina more than 10 years ago

Reply to mark

I really must remember this one Mark, it's classic lol. I've had most of these said to me or about me at some time or another. Some people have no manners at all!

Marina more than 10 years ago

More ...

Hi Mark - I'm know I'm really juvenile about farting, but I absolutely hooted at your answer to the 2nd question! I'm not disabled but my dearest friend is blind & she's told me some of the things people have said to her and how they can treat her as if she's stupid (she's a Barrister) & I was with her once when some pillock seemed to find it funny to jump out in front of her and shout 'boo' - twice! She wasn't fazed but I wanted to deck the guy (resisted the temptation!) I really hope I've never done it myself (if I have it was unintentional) but I'm so sorry for all the stupid things non-disabled people say - though sometimes hopefully it's just ignorance/embarrassment and not someone really meaning to be nasty. Anyway, really just wanted to say thank you for making me really laugh out loud with that answer and didn't mean to ramble on! :-)

Jane more than 9 years ago

So True

Great article and photo too. People can be very insensitive and don't think before they speak.

Susan more than 10 years ago


Divya, you are just wonderful and i feel too happy for you and your way of living life, Stay Blessed!

Rajiv Sachdeva more than 10 years ago


I love this. You give people such a great insight. Always knew you were destined to do great things.

Nikki more than 10 years ago

Too true

I have had it said to me I'm so sorry that you are going to die, well MS isn't terminal we all are going to die

Annie more than 10 years ago

I've heard the majority of these

I'm also a wheelchair user and have heard a vast majority of these 'comments'. It's refreshing to hear that I'm not the only one who is subjected to this.

Ben more than 10 years ago

I love it!!!

Totally true, and sadly true. Regards from Costa Rica

Ericka Camacho more than 10 years ago


This is amazing!!! People never cease to horrify/amaze.

Sarah more than 10 years ago

Innocent to rude

Some of the comments that are listed vary anywhere from innocent to rude, mainly springing from ignorance. I'am glad Divya is educating the masses about what it feels to be on the receiving end. I hope the humans will learn to be in the others shoes sometimes.

saila more than 10 years ago

Innocent to rude

HUMANS? are you serious? are you suggesting that Divya isn't Human? well yes you were!!

Some of the rest of your English suggests to me that maybe English is not your first Language, if that is so, and you made a genuine mistake, I will apologise now.

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