Polite People

The elevator door opened. We went in. My only fear of elevators is having the door closing on me while I am halfway in, or out. Some people just do not have the courtesy to press the button to keep the door opened for others.

But it was different this time. The young man beside the panel held the door open for me.

“Thank you,” I said.

He replied with a “You are welcome.”

He was to my left. I could not see his face but I could sense he had a smile on his face when he said that.

The elevator stopped at P2 where we parked our car. I reversed the wheelchair out. Again, he held the door for me.

I said, “Thank you.”

He said, “You are welcome. Have a good day.”

Wuan and I responded in unison with a “Same to you too.”

There are still courteous, considerate and well-mannered people around.

To the polite young man who held the elevator door open for me one evening last week at Gardens Mall, I would like to say thank you to you again for being considerate and for infecting us with your cheerfulness. We sure can make do with more people like you.

Wheelchair Gloves Alternative

The method of propelling the manual wheelchair has not changed for the last 100 years. This is achieved through pushing the handrims that are attached to the large wheels. Wheelchair users expends the most energy in this act of pushing to move around in the course of a day. Anodised aluminium handrims are common these days because it is light and cost-effective. This is what I have for my current wheelchair.

Alternative to wheelchair gloves
Nike Alpha Training Men’s Grip.
Photo taken with the Samsung Galaxy S III.

The surface of the handrims is smooth. I have weak grips. My hands tends to slip. This makes pushing tiring. I have previously used leather gloves with latex pads which worked very well. However, the latex pads wear out and tear within six months. I have used up two pairs of these which I bought from Japan for ¥7,000 (RM270) per pair. This is expensive for something that lasts six months only.

Alternative to wheelchair gloves
My hands are rather large but the “Small” size fits nicely.
Photo taken with the Samsung Galaxy S III.

While shopping at Mid Valley Megamall last year, I found these Nike Alpha Training Men’s Grip at the Nike Shop for RM79 per pair. They are not gloves but are gripping pads for weightlifting but worked as well on wheelchair handrims. Unfortunately, I dropped one side a few months later. The shop where I bought them and the other Nike Shops that I went to enquire were out of stock for my size. I placed an order for three pairs with the Nike Shop at The Gardens Mall which arrived nearly two months later.

Alternative to wheelchair gloves
This is how I push the wheelchair.
Photo taken with the Samsung Galaxy S III.

My thumbs and fingers are too weak for a good grip of the handrims. I push the rims by pressing my palms against the handrims. The non-slip surface of the pads helps in maintaining a good traction. They are cheaper than the leather gloves with latex padding and are very durable. Needless to say, I am happy to have found these pads.

Inconsiderate Driver of WUS 2722

The following photos were taken at The Gardens Mall. Wuan and I were on our way back to the car after shopping. As we came out from the lift lobby at Level P2, we saw this Volkswagen Polo parked in front of the ramp to the car park. That was not a parking space in the first place. The car was parked so close to the ramp that there was not enough space for me to maneuver my wheelchair. In fact, my wheelchair could not even totally get off the ramp. My legs would have hit the car with the wheelchair’s back wheels still on the ramp. And that was the only ramp to the car park from the lift lobby.

Car blocking ramp at The Gardens Mall
Car blocking the only ramp from the lift lobby to car park at The Gardens Mall Level P2 basement car park.
Photo by Wuan with the Samsung Galaxy S II.

I had no choice but to get Wuan to lift the wheelchair, with me, down the kerb. If I were by myself, it would have been impossible for me to get down to the car park. With access to the ramp blocked, it was also impossible to get to the lift lobby from the car park. I complained to the security personnel afterwards. He came out to have a look but did not seem to take any action in clamping the car for the nuisance it has created.

Access to ramp blocked by inconsiderate driver at The Gardens Mall
Another view of the car blocking the ramp at The Gardens Mall Level P2 basement parking.
Photo taken with the Samsung Galaxy S II.

It is inconsiderate people like this driver that makes life difficult, not only for disabled people, but also for shoppers with trolleys and baby prams. This is also the reason why many disabled people are unable to be independent outside of their homes. Apart from the environment being not fully accessible, ignorant and inconsiderate people also add to the problems by making accessible facilities inaccessible.