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I am not a dog and don't need a treat!

I don't know about you but for some reason people when they come up to me and talk to me feel the need to pet me like a dog and give me treats. I haven't figured out why. It feels like they are either trying to reassure me that everything will be okay, they are congratulating me or they somehow feel sorry for me.

Me in my wheelchair meeting a service dog in training at the beach parking lot
Meeting a service dog in training in the parking lot. Please don't pet service dogs when they are working!

I am not a dog!

Whatever the reason I wish they would stop. I am not a dog, I am a person who happens to be in a wheelchair. People shouldn't feel sorry for me or reward me for doing things people my age do every day. It is possible to be happy and disabled. Unfortunately, society tends to believe the disabled can only be sad and helpless.

Rewarded with a cookie!

6 cookies in the shape of ghosts with happy faces.  Each cookies has a letter on it which spells out SPOOKY. A happy witch is in the background.
Cookies by Aunt Kim, Hearts of Sugar Bakery

This reminded me of an incident that occurred a few years ago but continues to occur, in which I ordered a sandwich and got rewarded with a cookie. I wondered at the time if this Subway rewarded all 22-year-olds with cookies for ordering their own sandwich. Was this a special day, that all 22-year-olds that ordered a sandwich got a cookie? FREE COOKIE DAY FOR 22-YEAR-OLDS ON SEPTEMBER 28! Why they felt it was an extraordinary feat is beyond me, all my friends order their own sandwiches.

Not everyone gets a cookie!

No, it wasn't free cookie day for 22-year-olds, it was just me, the cookie was delicious but the sentiment behind the reward was disheartening. Why they felt it was extraordinary for me to be able to order a sandwich for lunch is beyond me. It could only be due to one reason, they are not exposed to enough disabled people that are happy and capable. They hold stereotypical views of how the disabled are, incapable of ordering a sandwich.

Please don't pet me

Why do people feel the need to stroke my arm as though they are petting me while talking to me? If you don't pet everyone else while talking to them, then why do it to me? If you don't give everyone free cookies, then why do it for me? If you want to touch me give me a hug. If you want to reward me, then let it be something special like Graduating from college, Sum Cum Laude. That deserves a cookie and a hug!

dark blue background with gold lettering spelling out CUNY SPS surounded by 4 cookies.  In the upper left hand corner a black graduation cap with gold tassel.  In the upper right corner and lower left corner white scroll with Allison printed on it. lower right hand corner Class of 2022 in gold and black lettering.
Graduation June 2022 BA Disability Studies. Cookies by Aunt Kim, Heart of Sugar Bakery

Thank you for reading until the end!

This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference. Always Strive for the Impossible. Come back next week to see how this situation got sticky and The View From My Wheelchair.

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