Living in a major city like Philadelphia, my go-to mode of transportation is the subway or the bus. My husband, Justin, has a car he parks close to our apartment to have available when needed. But if I am on my own or need to get somewhere close, I use public transportation. I find it is usually easier and more convenient than having to drag the car out of a public parking garage.
Last week, I had one of the best experiences while riding on the bus. I have had my fair share of negative experiences on the bus, such as people sitting in the handicap-accessible seats when they shouldn’t, or being inconsiderate and disrespectful of my accessibility needs. Some bus drivers have even given me a difficult time. But last week was different.
Around lunchtime, I was six blocks from home. To avoid using my energy and time to walk home, I decided to take a quick bus ride. Because it was the middle of the day, the bus was crowded. All the seats were taken and some passengers had to stand in the middle of the aisle. All of the ADA seats were taken by people with assistive devices, including canes and a rollator. When I boarded, someone let me sit in an ADA seat located in front of the bus, which often isn’t the case.
When my bus stop was approaching, I had no idea how I would maneuver myself off the bus, as the aisle was completely blocked with passengers and assistive devices. I grew anxious and upset. I guess others could tell that I needed help to get off the bus.
The reason I felt anxious and sad is that it was a situation in which I felt hopeless and that things were out of my control. I knew I had to accept the fact that I needed help, whether I liked the idea or not.
Those sitting near the front all came together to help me. They assisted me in getting out of my seat, which is half the battle. Then, a woman came up with a plan and told me how we would get it done. She simply said, “OK, I will pick up your walker and carry it off the bus. While I do this, you can hold on to my back and we will walk off safely and slowly together.”