April 2018

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer #17: Agressive Kindness

Summer #17: Public transportation like airplanes and busses are the most notable places for folks who are aggressively kind. In Dallas last week, I acquiesced to a ride in a wheelchair down the ramp. The airline attendant asked me if I'd like her to arrange wheelchairs at my next stops. "No, thank you. I'll be fine." She nodded. In St. Louis and again in Seattle, a person with a wheelchair met me at the gate. So much for No, thank you. In Seattle, I asked the woman with the wheelchair just to take me to the end of the jetway. "Oh, no. It's too far," she insisted. When I tried to get out, she would have none of it and pushed me back into the chair. Ann tried to argue, but I've been through this before, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride and said thank you at the end.

On another flight a couple of years ago, the attendants insisted they call for one of those cars that beeps at everyone in order to take me to the exit. Again, after some arguing I acquiesced, but Ann refused and walked ahead with our luggage. I started to wonder how I was going to find her. Now, she rides with me.

My favorite time was when the attendants really wanted to call a second wheelchair for Ann, who has white hair and was holding my cane for me while I put on a sweatshirt. Now Ann makes me hold my own cane.

As I was getting off the bus last week, an older woman asked me if I needed help. "No, thank you." She decided to help me anyway. She tried to help me get up and move down the aisle anyway, but she wasn't so steady herself and nearly knocked me down.

If you've been following this blog since the beginning, you already know about the two homeless guys who helped me across the crosswalk when I didn't want to cross the street.

When, as a teenager, I was taking CPR, I remember learning to ask someone who seemed in trouble, "Are you okay?" I found the idea of performing mouth-to-mouth on someone who was just sunbathing funny. Now I know how important that question is, and how important it is to listen to the answer.

If you are aggressively kind, I appreciate your spirit, but really, no thanks unless I say yes please. Mary

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