During my recent visit to Spain and France I wore my knee brace a lot. I’ve been noticing how differently I’m treated when I wear it than not, even though my knee condition is the same.
Here’s some examples:
- I was offered a space on the motorized wagon that drives passengers with mobility needs to the gate. (I declined.)
- I was offered a seat on a bus. (Yes, thanks!)
- I was told I couldn’t sit in the exit row of the plane for take off and landing as they needed a non disabled person in that seat because of the responsibilities that come with the bonus legroom. (I followed instructions.)
- I sat rather than wait in line standing at hotel check in when someone pointed out the table. (See pic below.)
The things is I can walk lots with the knee brace but it’s when I am wearing the knee brace that people assume I can’t. Without the knee brace I might have wanted assistance getting speedily to the gate. Likewise, with the knee brace I think I would be a pretty capable person to have in the exit row of a plane but it’s only when I am wearing it that I am asked to move.
I’m not sure what the solution is but I’m pretty sure it’s going to involve me being more outspoken about my needs and asking for help.