Thank You

I’m quite well known for not noticing people waving to me when I’m out and about. Or not knowing who people are when they know me.

Part of that has to do with the fact I meet so many people through things like CAB. I’m usually the only person they deal with but depending on if I’m doing appointments of gateway (10 minute triage like interviews) I might see up to 4 people in one session.

The big thing in training for CAB is confidentiality. One of the points made about it is that due to that you shouldn’t acknowledge clients outside the bureau. That’s easier than it sounds because more than likely I don’t remember them or I think “hmm I know them from somewhere…” There are obviously the odd memorable person. Regulars and such like. But the number of people I’ve met and introduced myself to who’ve then gone “I know you helped me at CAB” and I’ve not known them is huge.

One day recently I was doing some jobs in town popping from place to place.

And in one of them someone saw me and said “oh! Good Morning.” As they walked past.

I replied “Morning” and continued what I was doing.

30 seconds later they reappeared in front of me to say

“You really helped me a long time ago but I don’t think I thanked you properly.”

All of a sudden the stuff in front of me didn’t have my attention any more. I’d been only half listening expecting the usual “bizarre and probably inappropriate comment to a wheelchair user” I so often get. Not that.

I said they were welcome and asked “at CAB?” They said yes and that it’d been “years and years ago”

I’m wracking my brain but I’m getting no where on who this might be so I asked how long “years and years ago” was

It turns out years and years ago was so long ago they had to think for a minute before they could answer. And so long ago I really can’t have been advising for long when I saw them.

We talked for a few more minutes. I had to admit I didn’t remember them. They said how much of a difference I’d made, how often I’d seen them and how grateful they were. They thanked me again and left.

I thanked them and left as well.

Because that made my day.

I can’t write any more about this. Because of confidentiality. But also because even with several days of thinking later I can’t remember them.

>I am A Writer In A Wheelchair and In Print (Again)

>I have an article in this months Disability Now!

It’s called Triumph Over Cuts Tragedy and it’s about the One Month Before Heartbreak campaign.  Mostly about the sense of friendship and community we managed to build.  To me that’s probably more important that what we did fighting the cuts.

Please comment and let me know what you think of it – I love getting feedback and it’s all really useful.

Finally, I’d just like to take this opportunity one more time to send huge huge thanks to everyone who took time to write, tweet, video, comment, facebook and so many other things as a part of One Month Before Heartbreak.  It might have been my idea but you are all part of the reason why it was so successful!

>When Persistence Pays Off

>This is a bit of a follow on to my Advocacy Tips post and is cross posted to Disability Voices

One of the tips I gave in that post was to be persistent.  The example I gave was one of my local supermarkets.  My chair would only go through the wide aisle checkout and it was often closed when I visited.  The staff would open it when I asked but they had a bad attitude towards doing so and made me uncomfortable.  As a result I didn’t go there often and had actually decided I wouldn’t shop there again.

I had personally made something like six complaints to them, mostly verbally but I’d also written to head office at least twice.  My sister had also been so infuriated the last time I had problems there that they got letters of complaint from both of us about that.  And none of the responses I got were of any use.  A lot of them actually seemed like they were designed to “shut me up”.

Yesterday, my sister sent me a text saying that they’d redone all the checkouts in there and they were all wide aisle ones now.  My Dad took me up there for some shopping this evening.  And I could have got my chair through any of the checkouts.  I was tempted to try that but I didn’t.  It was a really great sight.  And once again, I have the same thing everyone else does in this town – a choice of where to shop (I won’t go there all the time because it’s further away but I will be able to go there again!).

I’d love to think that they’ve done this just because of my complaints but I’m not naive enough to do so – and I know I’m not the only person whose had those problems.  But it’s a definite example of why complaining, campaigning and advocacy are so important.  And what happens when your persistent – because it really can pay off.