• Awkward Moment

    Posted by deann-r on May 23, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    It’s been a long time since something like this has happened to me, so I was really thrown off guard as to what my reaction should’ve been. Mom and I had gone to a family owned greenhouse. Most of it was accessible except a small building with knickknacks. Mom decided to buy this little birdhouse from there. I commented how cute it was and the owner proceeded to give me one of the birdhouses. Not sure if he felt bad I couldn’t get in or what exactly. I didn’t want to be rude and turn it down, so I accepted it with a thank you. It is cute, and I’ll use it, but when Mom had to pay for hers and I got a free one it was just…awkward! What would have been the appropriate response?

    tracy-odell replied 4 years, 6 months ago 5 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • kelly-miller

    May 23, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Personally, I don’t think that you responded inappropriately at all Deann. I mean, there have been many times that people have offered me things for free or paid for mine & my husband’s dinner at restaurants, and I’ve responded in much the same way as you. I’ve tried to turn down whatever the gift was in the past and it’s only made things more awkward. For whatever reasons, they want to give us things and do things for us to help us out. Sometimes I think it’s because they feel sorry for us, other times I think it’s because they want to bless us with a gift, and I’m sure there are times that it’s out of some semblance of guilt coming from their own lives. There’s really no way of knowing the reasoning if they do not tell us at the time.

    But no matter what the reason might be, I feel like we are supposed to be gracious in our acceptance because I think in their hearts they mean it very sincerely. I feel like, whether we like it or not, we are representatives of the group known as “the disabled”, and because of that, we have a duty to try to be the best representatives we can. Do I get angry sometimes because I don’t want to be a representative? Yes, but I also feel good most of the time to be that person. Whether it’s fair or not, I think the avg. person doesn’t know how to treat someone who is disabled, and each of us has to help to teach them that were like everyone else. That means accepting their forms of assistance in whatever forms they come in. That person at the greenhouse knew that you could not get in to the knickknack building, so they wanted to make up for the fact that it wasn’t accessible. If you had refused the gift, it could have been taken in an unfriendly way, and they would have gone away from the interaction being more wary of disabled people. That’s just my opinion. I hope all this makes sense and I haven’t offended anyone.

  • halsey-blocher

    May 23, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Kelly makes some very good points. Some people probably see our wheelchairs and feel bad for us and others just want to do something kind for someone else. The best thing we can do is respond with grace and cherish the gifts strangers sometimes give us. I think you handled the situation well, and I’m sure you’re mom didn’t mind having to pay for hers.

  • ryan-berhar

    May 23, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    I think accepting the gift was appropriate. Even if he gave it to you out of pity, who cares? I say take advantage of the disability perk.

  • tracy-odell

    May 24, 2019 at 8:08 am

    I agree, sometimes there is nothing more to do than graciously accept the gift. Other times, not.

    I usually don’t think of the best response until a day or two after the embarrassing incident occurred, and so I admire others I know who can come up with a snappy comeback in the moment.

    So here’s a funny true story: a group of us were out for dinner, some of us in wheelchairs, some of us not. One of our friends who was small in stature due to osteogenesis imperfecta was centred out by an adjacent diner, who came over to our table and put a five dollar bill on his napkin. We all looked at each other with “did that really happen?” look on our faces.  Without missing a beat, our friend wheeled himself to the diner’s table, and gave him back the money saying he never takes less than a $20.

    Was this the most appropriate response under the circumstances? At the time, we certainly thought so. It definitely gave a message that some of us with disabilities don’t like to be treated as a charity case.