September 28, 2010

Miss Manners and the Mobility Scooter

An hour ago, Bertrand and I were leaving an appointment when an interesting interchange took place. We were almost to the parking deck when I noticed a lady coming up behind us. I held the door open for her and narrated quietly to Bertrand, "we're holding the door open for a lady." I don't think she heard me but she proceeded to ram the door and said, "I can get it myself!" I turned to her, looking her in the eye, and said, "I was just teaching him that ladies go first. It's never too early to start teaching kids manners."

I moved to get out of the way, but turned as she started laughing--almost hysterically. With a huge grin on her face she told me, "that's very nice!" To which I responded, "I am from the South. No son of mine will forget his manners!***" She laughed and smiled all the way to her car. Which had my mind spinning. What was so freaking funny?! Lots of moms teach their kids manners! Was it that he appeared too young because he was in a stroller? Was it because she thought it could be sexist?

After I finished loading Bertrand and everything into the car, and as I settled into the driver's seat, I watched her drive past us with her scooter on the back of her car. And that's when it hit me! It was probably because she was in a scooter!!! (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this lady was using a mobility scooter.) It was a weird realization to me that I DIDN'T NOTICE HER SCOOTER. I am 5 foot 10 inches tall, people. I obviously looked down at her and I must've seen it, but it didn't register. It didn't occur to me as a reason for which Bertrand and I should treat her differently than any other lady.

I could give you a full description of her face and what shirt she was wearing, but I didn't notice the scooter until she drove off. And, maybe that was it?! Our actions weren't motivated by pity. After her initial overreaction, what apparently made her day: we'd seen her as a lady rather than a scooter.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I was thinking to myself that this was probably a sign that I've spent WAY too much time up at Shriners Hospital... and then mentally smacked myself! NO! This is a sign that I have finally spent just ENOUGH time! EVERYONE should see the lady, not the scooter.


***Since Bertrand was born I've been gently brain-washing him in the manners and ways of the South. I figure that living in Utah is no excuse! Beyond the non-stop use of "please" and "thank you"--I thank Bertrand for everything from eating well to making peepee and always preface everything I ask of him with please--we go that extra southern step beyond. (1) We refer to all of his nurses, therapists, teachers as "Ms/Miss": Ms. Kirsten, Ms. Meghan, Ms. Michele. It is fused to their names. (2) We make sure to use "sir" and "ma'am" all the time. (No, I don't care how old you are. If you are older than Bertrand, you WILL be sired or ma'amed!) (3) Whether we are opening doors or entering/exiting elevators, ladies ALWAYS go first. Bertrand and I do not discriminate: young or old, girlie or punk, scooter or not. (4) Last but not least, we drink real sweet tea at home. :)


  1. Love this, hey. What a wonderful perspective - you probably made that ladies day! :)

  2. Wow. I'm not there yet--but I'm glad you are.

  3. Awesome.

    How's the little man doing?

  4. Love it! I'm a Southern girl too. Bertrand will be such a gentleman :)

  5. Southerners and Canadians sounds like they have a lot in common :))

  6. You can take the girl out of the south..... :) I'm with ya, sister!

  7. As a person who relies on a wheelchair for mobility, I can honestly tell you that you get so used to being seen as "the wheelchair" first that it IS shocking when someone actually sees YOU! You most definitely made that woman's day just by seeing her. It sounds like Bertrand has the manners of a true gentleman!

  8. oh my gosh...I love this post!