‘Normal’ better than ‘special’?

Around 4.00 pm one evening, my colleague and I were driving back to office after a meeting at a customer’s factory. There was a physically challenged gentleman on a scooter with support wheels on either side of the rear wheel (popularly called a ‘handicapped scooter’) about 30 feet ahead of us.

When we stopped at a traffic signal, a schoolboy, looking around 15 years old, approached the physically challenged scooter-driver. It was obvious the boy and the scooter-driver were not known to each other, and the boy was trying to hitch a ride. After a very brief conversation, the scooter-driver removed his crutches from the rear and kept them in the front. He had to twist and turn uncomfortably, but the boy did not even offer to help. He sat on the rear seat as soon as the crutches had been shifted.

Seeing all this, my colleague commented, “Why did he have to trouble the physically challenged guy? He could have hitched a ride from anybody else. He didn’t even offer to move the crutches. Some people can be so insensitive!”

I thought for a minute and replied, “My immediate reaction was the same as yours. But, on second thoughts, I think the boy, probably without realizing it or without intending to, has done a very good thing. He treated the physically-challenged gentleman like he would have treated any other person. In fact, I’m sure the scooter-driver is really happy that the boy treated him as a ‘person’ and not as a ‘physically-challenged person’ like almost everybody else does.”

Would you agree with my colleague’s view or mine? Or do you have another view?

15 thoughts on “‘Normal’ better than ‘special’?

  1. Yes, the boy unintentionally treated the scooter-driver like anybody else, but the least he should have done is to help him move the crutches.

  2. Pro, again a matter of perception. If someone falls, we rush over to help them. If someone is struggling to get into a bus with big bags, we help them.

    I am totally for treating people as “normal” but in your example – the boy could have acted normally and helped clear that rear seat as it is not easy to twist around remove something from the back quickly – especially because it was at the traffic signal

  3. I have a neutral view. I agree that we should treat handicapped people equal among us.. we also need to take care of others convenience also

  4. I like your perception.
    Also, many others wouldn’t have stopped to give the boy a lift. Isn’t it? I mean I remember how during my childhood there used to be people taking a hitch ride with random people, but these days people don’t even stop even if they see someone’s dying on the road.

  5. Vidya has said it all. This was exactly my reaction after reading this post. The boy should have helped the driver, regardless of being physically challenged or not. This was the least he could have done after being given a generous favour by the scooter-owner. Just my thought.

  6. I like your perception. But, I didn’t like it that the boy was insensitive,.. Our children nowadays are becoming more and more self-centered I feel and that is really sad.

  7. The 15-year old was just getting his selfish motive of getting a ride and it was his luck that he just happened to get it from the handicapped. I don’t think he gave much thought to his driver’s predicament as long as he was able to give a ride. Moving the crutches was probably a sensitive matter to him as he probably did not want to handle it the wrong way.

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