Funny Interactions with Others About My Wheelchair

Recently, my family and I attended a small gathering with friends. My friends have a beautiful home complete with a nice backyard, comfortable patio and a saltwater pool. In addition to my husband and children, there were some other couples, two other families with a few children, and several beloved seniors.

My Edge 3 Power Wheelchair with iLevel® technology is often a topic of discussion. I love to show off the features of my wheelchair, nicknamed “Bumblebee.” Today was no different and I received quite a few questions. The guests wanted to know: “How high does she extend?”  “How fast does she go?” And of course, “how long does it take for Bumblebee to charge up?”

I also demonstrated my horn and headlights to one kiddo and he was amazed. During this whole exchange, his little sister, Molly, who had the most awesome pigtails I’ve ever seen, sat quietly looking as if she was deep in thought while paying rapt attention to the exchange going on with her brother. 

Sometime later, Molly slowly walked up to me and asked, “Do you call piggyback rides, piggy front rides?” I could not help but laugh out loud at her query. She shortly negotiated her first piggy front ride with her mother’s permission, of course. The interaction recalled some of the most interesting, funny, and thought-provoking questions that people old, young, and uninformed have asked me since I began using my power wheelchair.

Some of the most common questions or attempts are good natured and harmless, and not intended to be offensive. They sometimes are just cheesy tries at being funny. Here are some of the more memorable instances.

The most popular question I get in Wal-Mart is, “Do you have a license for that?” This very common attempt at a lighthearted dig is usually asked on the weekly basis by patron in the store and the local police.

Another one of my favorites was a classmate of my school age son that said: “You must be epic at musical chairs.” I looked him in the eye and with all seriousness and told him that I was the world champion.

I have heard: “can I get a ride? I’m too tired to walk.” I quite often get the short joke: “How’s the weather down there?” I have also been told that it’s probably nice to have a front row seat to everything.  

The other one liner that makes the top 10 list is when my husband says: “don’t let the kids push you around.” This is usually when one kid wants to get out of chores and wants a treat. It took all of four seconds before I was trying very hard to suppress a rising laugh and wipe my watering eyes. I do have a weird sense of humor. There is an adage about comedy and making someone laugh: it’s about timing.

The questions and jokes never get old. I take them all in stride as I am truly blessed to share a small piece of my world of what life is like for those that are disabled.

About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility and lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.