Blind confusion


When traveling with a disability, unless you are specific about your needs you can’t expect to get the proper assistance. Sometimes, however, you get more than you need. At the time in my life when I was still walking, I flew back from Hawaii to Wisconsin to visit family by myself and experienced just this.

Struggling to walk and carry everything, I requested a wheelchair to the gate where I sat and waited to board. At boarding time, I got assistance to the plane door, where the guys stood me up and I walked onto the plane. To maintain my balance, I held the shoulder of the guy leading me down the aisle to my seat.

During the flight, I noticed that the flight attendant who served me my beverages was always putting the cup down on my tray, then taking my hand and guiding it to the cup. At first I thought she was just being really nice. But after the third time I realized she must have thought I was blind! This made sense because she saw me board the plain, holding the guy’s shoulder for assistance like blind people do sometimes.

I laughed to myself and made a conscious effort thereafter to freak her out and smile at her every time she came down the aisle. She was probably thinking “How does he know every time I’m here?”

After the flight, I sat there and waited for the wheelchair attendants to arrive and there was nothing else to do but talk to whatever flight crew was stuck on board with me. So I chatted with one of the other flight attendants and jokingly said that the other flight attendant thought I was blind to which she began laughing and said, “Yeah we cleared that up with her about 3/4ths of the way through the flight!”

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