A Pet Peeve Wheelchair Etiquette-A Short Rant
Imagine talking to a ten-foot-tall basketball player. You are both standing, but let’s think about the situation. How would you feel having to constantly look up to make eye contact. After a short while, your neck would be tired and aching. At that point, either you suffer with the discomfort, or look down, seeming disinterested in the conversation.
Towering above someone leads to the alpha dog phenomenon. In a pack of dogs, the lead male is the tallest one. Looking at our basketball player, who has the power? Who is the alpha dog? The same goes for those in wheelchairs. Always being the shortest leads to a loss of equality. The person standing is the alpha dog, making the person in a wheelchair, who may already have a loss of self esteem, feel less than equal.
One more thought. Where would you be looking if you were behind the basketball player? Directly at their bottom. When in a line or a group, please give the person in the wheelchair a bit of space. Otherwise, your butt will be in my face and that isn’t a pretty picture.