From Becky Bond Writes.
I went shopping in a wheelchair even though I’m completely able-bodied. My friend George lent me her spare one so I could experience how she’s treated on a day to day basis. It was a real eye opener. The rules were simple: absolutely no getting out of the chair until the mission is complete.
I’d assumed we’d be getting the train to Leeds, but George explained that unless there’s a guard on the train or at the station, you have to rely on a passenger to sort out the ramp. Or wait for the next train. It was also raining, so we needed an undercover shopping centre because you can’t hold a brolly and wheel a chair at the same time – and who wants to browse in a wet cagoule? Also, Leeds is quite hilly and it wasn’t a work-out we were after, it was merchandise. Clearly, George knew what she was doing, so drove us to the best disabled-friendly shopping centre she knows – The Trafford Centre, in Manchester.
We parked outside Selfridges and I got both chairs out of the boot, then plonked myself in the spare one next to George. Yes, I did get some funny looks, but we’d decided that if anyone asked I would either come clean or say “I don’t like talking about it.” George furnished me with some rubber finger-less gloves to stop blisters forming and a key for the disabled toilets. Then we were off. Double trouble. This was a first for George too because she’d never been shopping with another wheelchair user.
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