Tuesday, 9 December 2014
PULL UP A CHAIR - IF YOU'RE ABLE...
The goalposts are shifting again, it appears. The disabled, whose plea was once that they be treated the same as more able-bodied folks, now seem to expect preferential treatment. The cause of the most recent stramash is that a woman with a pushchair on a bus refused to relinquish her seat in response to the demands of a man in a wheelchair who wanted to board the vehicle. As far as I understand, the woman was already on board (in an area usually available for prams, pushchairs and wheelchairs) when the bus pulled into a stop where the wheelchair user was waiting.
The woman's baby was asleep, but presumably her refusal to move was because there was no space to relocate to, rather than from a lack of empathy for her would-be fellow passenger. Or perhaps his manner in 'requesting' her to move was overbearing and ruffled her feathers somewhat.
Regardless of the precise details in this particular case, it gives rise to an interesting question. If you've paid your fare, should you be obliged to give up your seat or leave the bus to allow someone else a space who feels that their need to get to the shops (or return home) is greater than yours? I seldom use a bus, but I have a congenital liver disorder that leaves me constantly fatigued, meaning I often have to sit down when I'm out and about. Should I be compelled to give up my seat to an older person who might be far fitter than me, just because it superficially appears that they're more in need of it - or simply just want it?
If you're able-bodied and there are no seats on a bus, surely you just wait for the next one? Shouldn't it be the same for those who are disabled or impaired in some way? Or are they within their rights to demand that everyone else should give way to accommodate them? Am I being too harsh in thinking that being 'treated the same way as everybody else' entails having to put up with the same inconveniences and disappointments that the able-bodied do?
What are your thoughts on this controversial subject?
Posted by Kid at Tuesday, December 09, 2014