As I’ve probably mentioned before, I am a caregiver for adults with disabilities on my breaks from school. I love my job more than anything! But I have to say, I have some of the craziest experiences at my job, and most of the time it’s got nothing to do with my individual, but rather ignorant members of society.
Case in point: the other day I was grocery shopping with my individual, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had grocery shopping in my entire life! As we’re wheeling through the deli aisle, we see two young kids, (maybe 6 and 4?) running around. As we approach, one of them says “look out, a wheelchair! Don’t let it hit you!” They run around, “dodging the wheelchair” and making exploding sounds.
I was taken aback, and certainly appalled. I looked to their mother, who was yakking on the phone and clearly not interested in educating her children on people with disabilities.
I didn’t say anything. My job is to be a caregiver, and when someone is rude or ignorant, the last thing I want to do is call them out on it and make a scene while I’m with my individual. My job is to redirect and hope that someone else (the parents, maybe?) will stand up and be an advocate. Sometimes it sucks because I want to advocate the hell out of people, but can’t.
Instead, I found myself rationalizing their response by thinking how cool it was that we were a major part of whatever imaginative plot the kids were making up.
“As we were sitting, wondering how we were going to escape the evil three headed deli monster, a wheelchair zoomed by, ridden by an awesome person and driven by her caregiver. ‘Look out!’ I said. ‘Don’t let it hit you!’
But I had no reason to fear. As they zoomed by, they swooped up my brother and I, saving us from the clutches of the three headed deli meat monster. ‘To the chopper!’ They exclaimed, as we rode off into the sunset.”
Hey, it’s all in a days work 🙂