A Day In the Life of a Wheelchair User

Things people don’t know about being in a wheelchair... These are experiences I have weekly, if not daily...

1. Having to separate with your wheelchair user friends when entering into metro trains when it’s crowded or when there is limited wheelchair seating inside the train. This happens to me when I am with my other wheelchair users friends or when two strangers in a wheelchair see that we won't be able to both fit. With my friends, it interrupts our time spent together and risks us getting lost from one another.

2) Bus drivers often drive away, refusing to let us on the bus because the only two wheelchair spots on the bus are already full.

3) Using garbage cans and seeing that it requires you to step your foot on the garbage can foot pedal to open the lid. This has happen to me more times than I care for recently.

4) Metro turnstiles that say “out of service, pleased use another gate” but there’s no other gate to use. There is only one wheelchair accessible turnstile/gate in all the metro stations I've been to...if any at all.

5) Having to use the stall at the end in the bathroom to make sure you get some privacy because the stall is too small for your wheelchair to close the door and you really just have to use the restroom.

6) Having Uber pool drivers yell at me because I selected one seat instead of two or three seats because their car is not big enough to store your wheelchair in the back of the trunk. I recently had an experience where I ordered an Uber pool and the car was too small to fit my wheelchair in the trunk. The driver proceeded to cancel my ride and yell at me for not selecting more than one seat. He almost made me get out of the car and demanded that I choose however many seats my wheelchair was taking up in the backseat. I tried explaining to him how sometimes people have bigger cars and my wheelchair does fit in the back. He was stressed out about all the money he was losing by taking me as a passenger. I practically had to beg him to give me a ride to wherever I needed to go. This is both embarrassing and hurtful.

I am sharing these experiences in hopes of giving people the time and opportunity to see how they can better react to these situations.

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