Stranger On The Train

Dear stranger on the train,

I'm sure after our meeting earlier today you spent the rest of the day thinking about what a good deed you'd done when you took my suitcase off the train, whilst I was trying to calm myself down. I'm sure you felt quite good about yourself whilst I felt stressed and anxious.

I'm aware of your seemingly good intentions but I never asked you to remove my bag from the train, I never gave you permission to touch and take my belongings. And yet you still did. You picked up my bag and took it off the train, without even saying one word to me. As you did this panic rushed through my body as I feared that you, or someone else, would steal my bag. My bag that contained my vital medication.

My whole body shook as I tried to stop you, it took several verbal attempts for you to finally return my bag to me. I didn't want my bag on the platform as the assistance I’d booked hadn't turned up yet, fears of me getting stuck on the train with my bag on the platform, free for anyone to steal, filled my mind.

Throughout the whole time you never seemed to acknowledge that what you'd done was wrong, despite my shaking hands and anxious body language. You could hear the anxiety in my voice, I know this because other passengers reacted to it and tried to call over staff to get me off the train. For the first time though I wasn't even thinking about the ramp I needed, my mind was full of stress and fear. Stress and fear that you caused.

I'd bet that you would never grab an abled person’s suitcase without asking, simply because so many people assume that I MUST need help because I'm a powerchair user. You assumed this so much so that you didn't even bother asking me if I needed help, you just worked on the idea that I wasn't capable. Now, it's not all your fault that you assumed this, such an idea is so ingrained in people’s minds because of societies view of disabled people but I urge you, never touch anyone's belongings without their permission again.

I don't want someone else to go through the same stress and anxiety that you caused me. But, I know it will happen again, if not to me then someone else. It might not be you that does it again, but someone, somewhere will do exactly the same thing. This will never change until society changes and my hope for change is slowly dwindling as incidents like this happen again and again.


One stressed and anxious powerchair user.

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