Letter to a bus driver… AGAIN.
I read this week the disturbingly familiar story of the young girl who tried to use her bus pass but was refused because a bus driver who must be working for ATOS on the side decided she didn’t deserve it.
Here is the Sun’s article.
I had a similar experience, well to be honest I’ve had similar experiences. As a person with a disability that you can not easily see, you seem to be on the end of challenges from people who have become instant experts.
Oddly my most memorable experience happened on the bus too. I wrote about it in April have a read…
When I was talking about this young woman’s experience to my Dad he jokingly said that we should have something written on our heads so that dick head bus drivers can’t miss it. This got me thinking…
Not being able to see epilepsy is a bit of a double edged sword. For example, When I am not having a seizure I don’t look like the type of person who might need a little help from time to time. So it catches people off guard when I do. Or better, people think I am drunk and ignore me… nice.
On the other hand I can disappear into a crowd or mingle into a group and no body knows that I have a busy brain going on. Here lies the problem, when it comes to disability, many people who do not have some mild understanding of disabilities and chronic conditions live by the cruddy mantra “seeing is believing”. I will not be carrying MRI scans and a neurologist in my coat pocket to prove to some tool on the bus that I am entitled to something that is none of his or her business. I do hope people start suing for this blind ignorance and soon!
My plan of action has, like on the current brilliantly high profile recent incident, has always been to be open and go at them with a good offence. This hasn’t always been the case, I used to look at my pass and almost, limp on the bus. I’m embarrassed to type this. A person should not have to feel that they should do that, to hide what is normal to them is wrong.
It is however, a bizarre situation when you want to travel on a bus and your authenticity is being questioned, anb all the while I/you are questioning their own hygiene practices (this is based on MY experience). However, I do not do this, I would not do this! Because we are humane, maybe this person has some reason or condition that needs some understanding, so it is given… Should this not be mutual?
I have written a short letter to the bus driver, however he/she is more of a metaphor for general ignorance. I am hoping that he/she will read it and understand a few thoughts of mine…
I am writing to you to see how things are going. Anyway enough of the disingenuous small talk I think you should hear a few things. READ!
People with disabilities should not have to prove their disability continuously, this seems to be more and more the case these days. The nature of the term implies that the condition isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This has been defined by the equality act, should you wish to read it for yourself it is WIDLEY available. However, there is a growing number of people who are mistaking people with disabilities, for people who are signed off work as being un fit for work, when really they have just learned how to say the correct answers to the Doctor in the test in order to get what they want. These people will always exist. So will people with genuine need. Ignorance doesn’t need to.
Back to you driver, possibly you thought that this young person person was ANOTHER benefit scrounger getting on your bus for a free ride, and that day was going to be different. Maybe the spirit of Robin Hood entered you and you were going to kick off the bus, pass bearers 1 by 1. (I am being really quite creative there but you are getting the idea).
The simple fact is, that people need to know that firstly just because you have a condition/disability/ilness which entitles you certain reasonable adjustments does not mean that the hospital in response issue people with a cane or a chair as a sign to people who question their authenticity, they are provided to make the world more accessable, they are not for your benefit Secondly, you can’t see a lot of conditions and disabilities not because they are small or far away either and thirdly if your job description doesn’t say something along the lines of ‘person who knows something about being an all disability, genius’, please keep all thoughts, prejudices and general ignorance to yourself. I promise, you will have far fewer newspapers, tv crews, and many more friends and probably live longer. If it sounds like tripe when you say it in your head. It will sound worse when it is repeated ALL OVER THE WORLD!
Oh this message will self distruct in… some seconds…
Please leave a comment and I’ll be glad to get back to you. Cheers. Ant