The thing is….

THE thing is that as a society we are not very patient, understanding or accepting. In the news today were horrific stories of how we treat the elderly in this country. Having read and listened to the reports of what our old people have to go through on a daily basis, it came as no surprise to me to hear that in some cases they admitted they would rather die than put up with the shocking treatment they have had to endure.
Sadly it is not just older people who get a rough ride. Only today I was in my local supermarket queuing to pay at the till, when I witnessed first hand how we fail to embrace diversity-wherever we are.
One of the regular checkout assistants is a young man called Tom. He is friendly, helpful, efficient and clearly valued by his employers as he has been working at the supermarket for several years. I have often been served by Tom and have only ever found him to be exceptionally polite and helpful. Tom has learning problems, hearing, sight and speech difficulties and also copes with some physical challenges. In my opinion none of this is relevant as it has no impact on how well he does his job or how he treats people.
Over the years I have witnessed many customers being served by Tom. I have also witnessed people look at him with disgust and walk on to the next till. In fact I have seen people who would rather queue elsewhere and wait rather than be served by Tom. I have also heard people mimic him and laugh at him.
Just today I was incensed by the behaviour of one man for this very reason. He only had a basket containing Finest dinners for one and Tom’s queue had just gone down as he had finished serving the last customer. I was already unloading my shopping at the next till when I happened to see the good looking, well dressed man look at Tom, sigh deeply and make his way to another queue. Maybe it was the piercing heat of the death stare burning through the back of his head that I sent his way, or maybe there were literally no other available checkouts, but a few seconds later he was back. He hovered for a while as if he couldn’t quite decide whether he could bring himself to let ‘someone like that’ (I know that’s what he was thinking) serve him. In the end he reluctantly unloaded his shopping and shuffled uncomfortably from one Camper-shod foot to the other, probably willing the till to close so that he could be served by someone ‘normal’.
I, of course, gave him the evil eye and watched him unload his expensive meals for one, thinking to myself that it was probably a good thing that he was single as who would possibly want a relationship with someone like that. Then I spotted some baby wipes…..the tragic reality that this human being could be a father then hit me. How sad that he found having to interact with someone who didn’t quite tick his social box so difficult. What chance does his child have of embracing any level of diversity. I can only hope that he never has to deal with anyone in his life who isn’t less than perfect…..

One thought on “The thing is….

  1. You can probably imagine how I feel about this piece. The only bright spot is that mothers like me, families like mine, usually spend years knowing this and knowing that only the very, very few (and usually people who work with disabled people) know what our lives are like.

    I’m so tired of listening to people in the media tell me that I’m being “over sensitive” about “celebs” using words like mong, spazz and retard. That me being upset by this is just “political correctness gone mad”.

    Well, my fine media friends – I live in a world where people pretend we’re an invisible family. The “polite” ones don’t meet our eyes and pretend that my son is invisible. The rude ones just stare…..

    So I’d like to take this opportunity to say “We hate you. We despise you. We would like to feel sorry for you as you’re so clearly very f***** up, but we don’t”

    The line between the starers and the ignorers and those people who would actively taunt, bully and hurt my son is more slender than you fools want to admit.

    Of course the situation isn’t helped by the fact that we have a government who is busy placing disabled and elderly people in unsuitable situations, where they are at risk – in the name of cost cutting. Well…..I didn’t vote for them.

    So, what are you going to do today to make a difference. Media Bird has made a difference today by writing this piece……………..what you YOU going to do?

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