Needs To Disable The Bigotry

, , , , , , | Working | September 11, 2020

I’m visiting a friend on campus, and we decide to go down to a cafeteria nearby for dinner. I expect to pay for myself, as I’m a visitor. I’m in a wheelchair, though I’m still very capable of taking care of myself. When we go through the entry line, instead of asking for payment, the cashier at the door just waves us in. My friend and I go in, giving each other confused looks.

Friend: “Huh. That’s a first.”

Me: “Maybe he thought I had a student ID out?”

Friend: “Maybe. Oh, well, free food!”

We get our food and start eating. My friend gets up to get more food, and the cashier comes over, apparently having swapped to the floor.

Cashier: “I can take your plate for you!”

He says this a little slowly, but I don’t think anything of it.

Me: “Oh, thank you!”

Cashier: “Where is your worker? She shouldn’t leave you alone here!”

Me: “My… worker?”

Cashier: “Yeah, your assistance worker!”

Me: “I don’t have one. That’s my friend.”

Cashier: “Okay, where did your friend go?”

He obviously exaggerates the word “friend,” as if mocking me.

Me: “She’s doing something somewhere else, as she’s allowed to do, as she is not in any way a caretaker for me or anybody else.”

My friend comes over and sets her plate down.

Friend: “Can I help you?”

Cashier: “Oh, good, you’re back. Your client is starting to get upset.”

Friend: *Pause* “She’s a friend. Who’s very capable of taking care of herself.”

Cashier: “They like to think that, huh?”

Friend: “I’d like to think you can grab your supervisor. Now.”

The cashier laughs and walks off. My friend then goes up to someone else wiping down a table, who does get a manager. The manager comes over.

Manager: “Can I help you?”

Me: “Yeah, one of your employees has been implying that because I’m disabled, I need a carer.”

Manager: “Well, I’m sure there’s an explanation—”

Me: “He refused to listen to me as a functional adult which, even if I did need a carer, is not appropriate. I do not need to be talked down to or told I can’t take care of myself.”

Manager: “I… I see. I’ll have a talk with him.”

I went back to visit my friend a couple of weeks later, and she had found out that the cashier had been fired. He apparently assumed that anyone with any visible disability needed or had a carer.

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