Do you really need a priority seat?

Hello again,

Before we begin I am starting with a polite reminder to you all to not push a disabled person to try get on the train before them.

Earlier this week I was getting on my train and a man was pushing from behind, he tried to get round the side of me. I could tell he was there. So I put my cane at the side of me, to stop him and give myself some room.

I stepped onto the train and again could feel him trying to push in front of me to get to the seats before me. Once again I took my time and put my cane out in front of me.
This is where it gets really ableist. He had the audacity to step over my cane, causing us both to be stood in the middle of the carriage. I said quite loudly ‘oh sorry’ I went to move my cane, and move for the priority seat.
He then pushed past my cane, and sat in the priority seat. I sat in the table seat the other side. I turned to him and once again said ‘Oh sorry’. Clearly sarcasm was lost on this man.
I smiled at the man in front and had my cane next to me. He just looked at me.

When we got off I made sure to stand up before the man who pushed his way to the priority seat. A lady got off before me and asked if I needed a hand. I said I was fine, but thank you for asking. In a loud enough and cheery manner that the ableist man behind would hear. Not that he would care.

The lady who was next to me on the train helped me onto the escalator and another woman stopped people getting on. She then asked if I needed a hand out the station. I replied no thank you. But to have a nice day and thank you for asking.

Some of you might be wondering why I’m so bothered by this as I got a seat.

Well, someone pushed passed me for a start whilst trying to get on the train, it’s dangerous, they then stepped over my cane, which he must have seen. He would have seen it because he had to step around me to step over it. To then just reply ‘it’s OK’ is extremely obnoxious. I use a guide cane, so it’s not like it’s easily missable.

Also the new trains which Northern are running have more table seats than they did previously. Which is frustrating as it is hard to navigate a table seat when you have a cane. I can’t easily fold it because I have shoulder pain which makes it harder to pull the cane to be able to fold it.

As obnoxiously rude as this man was, I tried not to let it ruin my day. You see even though he was one person ruining my day, I had three other people who were kind to me.

You can’t win them all.

My point for this blog is this, don’t push past people to get to a seat which is a priority one. If you see someone who is in a similar position to myself offer them your seat in a loud enough manner to be helpful and to shame the person who took the priority seat. Yes, shame. Ableism is a big thing. If you think you’re entitled to a priority seat and you are not disabled, you are ableist.

But what about people with hidden disabilities you may ask?
I agree, we do need to accommodate those people. But in situations such as the one I found myself in, this was not the case. He knew what was doing, he was trying to push past me, on a train where the aisles are only wide enough for one. He then had to step over my cane. This was ableism. No ifs or buts, ableism.

Your help to any human being goes along way. Even if they don’t say thank you. You did it to help another person.

My life is already harder because of my disabilities. Please don’t make it worse for the sake of seat.

Twitter: @PhilippaB

Instagram: @VisuallyImpiaredPip

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