Thursday, September 15, 2005

Random Cruelty From Strangers

Interesting event at Disneyland the other day, when we took N. for a last visit before school started. Since I just had another surgery on my left ankle--number 3 of 6 needed--and am still in the Frankenstein-esq orthopeadic boot, I was in the wheelchair--extended walking still being a no-no for the present.

Firstly, no one, but no one looks out for wheelchairs at The Park. I've never had so many people run into and/or trip over me as I did that day. J. was muttering seriously about installing a sharpened cowcatcher to the front of the chair. Also, since J. was pushing the chair, N. walked beside me and held onto my hand so she wouldn't get lost. Those people that DID allow room for the chair refused to allow the child to get by. It was weird.

Then there are the parents who I swear, go to Disneyland specifically to lose, injure or kill their own offspring. Unattended kids were the worst for running into the chair and hurting themselves. One little boy of around 3 even walked beside the chair for a bit, staring at the wheel. I could see it coming, and his mother was looking the other way, oblivious. "No!" J. and I both told him as he stretched his hand out. Yup. He did it anyway, stuck his little fingers right in the spokes of the chair. By then I was SHOUTING "No!". Luckily J. knew what was going on and stopped the chair fairly quickly, but the kid still got his fingers pinched but good. Mother finally did turn around and grab him by the hand and haul him away. Incredible.

But that wasn't the worst.

I waited for J. & N. to ride Roger Rabbit, then we all went out through the standard exit, J. pushing the wheelchair. At the exit was the Goofy unit, comprised of Goofy and his handler, a girl named Shannon. No one I knew at all. Shannon spotted me, immediately pointed at my injured leg, laughed loudly and yelled, "Hey, can I kick you in the other leg and make it even?"

I was so shocked I couldn't speak, and J. just looked at her and angrily kept us going. NEVER in my life would I have expected anyone to say such a horrible thing to someone in a wheelchair, much less a stranger.

It was so cruel, so unexpected, so unprovoked that it literally took my breath away.

She, of course, had no idea why I was in that chair, or if it was temporary, or forever. To say that the last 6 years have been agonizingly painful, frustrating, stressful and depressing is an understatement. It's been a VERY long road so far and the end is still not in sight. The work they'll have to do to restore even partial use of my left ankle is complicated and has only a partial chance of success.

Shannon's bizarre comment, unfortunately for me, opened up the floodgates of all the emotions I've been trying to hold back for years, trying to look forward and hope for the best. We didn't even get out of Toontown before I was crying, and J. was trying to both comfort me, shield me from staring, curious people and explain the situation to N., who was very upset that I was crying.

We did stop at City Hall and file a complaint against Shannon, and the guy at the desk was very sympathetic.

We got out of there as quickly as possible, the day ruined. Sometimes people are just no damned good.

1 comment:

  1. From my brother:
    That's simply unbelievable. As an ex-Disney employee, I want her head handed to her on a plate. That's just shameful! I guess she's one of those "hired because she passed the mirror test" employees I've heard about... I hope the complaint gets back to her very, very soon.