I was using a wheelchair for the first time at an airport since my health declined. A fellow passenger also requiring airport assistance asked “what was wrong” with me and said I am too young and pretty to be in a wheelchair. Whilst on the buggy to the gate she asked intrusive questions regarding my condition and asked what medications I took and if I had taken any today. On the flight whilst using a wheelchair from the airline, she tried to take over from my partner and push me to the bathroom! He of course took control of the situation and didn’t allow this. On the way back from the toilet we could hear her discussing my health with one of the air stewardesses and discussing the fact that I was unwell on the flight and couldn’t eat. When we departed the flight we got away from her as quickly as possible. The whole experience was horrible and now makes me very nervous when I am in a chair and a stranger tries to talk to me.
Criminologist and Co-Director of Centre for Gender Studies at University of Sussex