I may be a quadriplegic but I can still shop with the best of you ladies.
I browse through all kinds of stores independently. When in need of assistance I politely ask any person nearby. Most people pick up the item only to hand it to me. I explain, “I can’t use my hands. Please set it on my lap tray?”
When it’s time to check out, I wheel up to the register and explain, “I can’t use my hands. I need you to reach over and get these items, please?”
Discomfort shows on the associate’s face. I assure her it will work out as she rings up my purchase. I open my wallet, indicate which credit card I want to use and ask, “Will you run it through and sign my name, please?”
After scanning my card, she holds it out to me. I remind her, “I can’t use my hands.” She looks at me and returns my card along with my receipt to my wallet. Then she offers me my bag. I quietly ask her to place it on my tray. (Frequently another customer will step in front of me to lend a helping hand.)
Having a disability doesn’t have to negate independence. Wherever I shop, I make a point of talking to employees when I enter their store to set them at ease. I also take time to talk to other customers as I shop and often share my story.
You might wonder if I get aggravated when I have to repeat myself. I don’t. The people I encounter see my ability first and gain insight into living with a disability. I believe God uses my independence to enrich the lives I touch.
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24 NIV).
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