Moving on from having damaged my Medial Collateral Ligament..which means I walk with a stick, and shall have to for the next 6-8 weeks. So having sat on my backside for a long time to rest my knee just as I was told..I decided I could not take it anymore and so went out for the first time with my shiny new crutch. I have never used one before..and so it took a bit of time to get the hang of it. I am ok to walk, but a stair or a step is a bugger! And there are brand new aches and pains from using the crutch which has thrown my body out of alignment..and it HURTS!!
Anyhow..so I am getting out and about London for the first time with a crutch...
I take the London Public transport to the National Film Theater on London's Southbank. And I enter a whole new world. Not talking about the theater here...the crutch..people are SO VERY nice to you. I did not realize it. I am sure I am the same when I see someone with a walking stick/ wheelchair/ crutch. I did not see it coming at all.
On the tube, the ticket/Oyster check guy opened the wide gate for me so I would not struggle through the barriers, people stood behind me patiently, waiting for me to climb in and out of the train , they got up and offered me their seats one old man insisted I sit in his space. Someone held my elbow as I scrambled to get into the tube. On the escalator, people let me go first. Someone helped me get off it without falling over. When I went to the loo, people let me go first, held open doors. The serving staff at the Cafe came out from behind their counters to serve me, made me sit, got me my stuff while others stood patiently in the queue waiting to pay for what they had picked up. At the theater the security guy called the lift for me, let me sit on his chair while I waited for the husband to come and fetch me. When I got up, someone helped me with my coat and bag, yet another time someone held my things while I slowly sat down on my seat.
On my way to work, rush hour pushing came to a halt as I hobbled along. On the commute to another city to teach I was asked if I want a tea or a coffee and I paid someone to get me a hot drink from the buffet car, saving me the hassle of needing to walk in a high speed lurching train.
Smiles I got loads of smiles. Nice ones, sympathetic ones, I am sorry I did not see your stick ones :) it was nice.
I dont know why I am so surprised. I dont know if I should be. I mean the very same people push and shove and rush you when you have fully functioning limbs. The very same people go tutting when you hold up a queue. The very same people will make you wait for hours on your own without a nod or sign of support if you seem to be fit enough to take it.
I am happy there is some amount of kindness in these people who rush around London and seem careless and cold. I am glad to see politeness as well of standing patiently. I love the good hearts these people hide well within them. To help, without asking.
I am not sure if I would feel the same if this crutch was a permanent part of my life. I might, in that case, take this kindness as patronizing..But the point is. It is not patronizing at all. It shows that people can be kind, when needed.