I have a dear friend who visits me every Friday afternoon at the market. She has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which causes her joints to dislocate easily. She has splints and braces to fit every joint in her body, and on an average day she is wearing at least three of them.
She was doing fairly well today; she wore a back brace, a wrist splint, and a knee brace. She left her scooter in the car, and was using a shopping cart as a walker. She went into the lavatory, and used the handicap stall as always (she has trouble standing up from a sitting position). A moment later, she came
into my store in tears.
“There’s a woman in there who grabbed my arm and yelled at me that I am not handicapped, and don’t need that bathroom stall. Then she shook me on the arm that had a splint on it! She didn’t even need the stall, because she was just putting on her lipstick and combing her hair.”
I offered to take the security team in there and have a few words with her, but my friend didn’t want to make a fuss. Luckily, the shaking hadn’t dislocated any joints (on a bad day, her joints can pop out while she’s lying on the couch). As someone with an autoimmune disease (lupus) who often gets snide remarks
when I use my scooter, I am very sensitive to “you don’t look handicapped” accusations. But my friend is a more patient soul than I am, because I will get up in someone’s face and scream the gory medical details of my condition until they apologize and slink away with their tail between their legs.
My friend decided to go home, and we escorted her back to her car (with its handicap license plate) to prevent any additional encounters. A few minutes later, I was coming back from the diner with a large diet soda and two dinner rolls when someone said quite loudly, “That’s why you’re fat.”
Me: I beg your pardon?
Me: And who gave you the right to comment on my body? Are you the woman who shook a girl wearing a back and wrist brace in the bathroom just now? I mean seriously bitch, she was wearing 3 appliances and probably leaning against the wall to get out the door and back to her cart. You’re banned from this market for assaulting a disabled person.
B----: Everybody thinks they’re soooo disabled, [and they say] poor me.
Me: Okay, I’ll call her and get her to meet you at the police station, which is where you’re going now.
I signaled to a police officer sitting in the donut shop.
The customer fled the scene, but not without saying, “You’re so fat that you make me want to throw up!”
Me: Go ahead. Just do it outside; we don’t feel like cleaning up after you.