How can I help YOU?

One of the questions I get asked the most, especially when I am out in public, at a store or a restaurant, is “How can I help you?” “Are you finding everything okay?” or “Is there anything I can get for you?”

Now, that’s a legitimate question, that everyone should be asked, disabled or not, in my opinion. I mean, it’s common courtesy to ask someone if they need help finding something when they’re shopping, or if they need a refill if they’re eating at a restaurant.

It’s a little embarrassing to talk about publicly, but because I have spina bifida, I have special supplies I have to buy every month, and about the only place I can find the supplies I need is Wal-Mart. Most of my supplies are within arms’ reach, so I’m able to grab what I need and go check out. Sometimes I can’t find what I’m looking for, because the supplies are not in stock, or as is most often the case, they’re on a shelf that’s too high for me to get to. Most of the time, when this happens, I have to ask my parents to go get the things I need, which is also embarrassing because I shouldn’t have to depend on my parents every time I need to pick something up from the store.

I know I can ask a person working in the store to get them for me, to save time and my parents a trip to the store, but again it’s really embarrassing to go up to a stranger in Wal-Mart and say, “I have so and so, and I need this and that, can you get them for me?”… I can’t really put this into words, but just imagine how you’d feel if you were in the same position…

Whenever someone asks me, “How can I help you?” or “Is there anything I can get for you?” I always tell them I have everything I need, or I’m just looking. But actually, that’s only half right. I think the biggest way people can help me, and anyone else with a disability, is to remember that we are the SAME as everybody else. We have the same emotions, wants, needs, desires, frustrations and feelings as everyone else in this world. We cry at funerals, laugh at somebody’s jokes, get mad when somebody cuts us off in traffic and share in the grief of a loved one when a family member dies or has major surgery. I think we all just want to be accepted and loved for what’s inside, and not pushed away into the cold because of some physical deformity or disability.

I have met some amazing people with disabilities and, although it’s hard to understand them sometimes, the smile they have on their faces when I first meet them means more to me than all the money in the world. I wish I had the chance to meet a lot more disabled children and adults, to just spend a couple hours just talking with them. I know my life would be blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

I can’t speak for every disabled person in the world, but I think the biggest question I have for all of my readers is “How can I help YOU?” That’s what I really want people to understand about me and this blog. I really want to help people realize their full potential in life and achieve their goals. I want to know what’s going on in your life and want to help you overcome obstacles and solve problems you’re having. I’m no rocket scientist (believe me I’d probably blow it into itty-bitty pieces!!!), but together I hope to make this world a better place for you and me.

I truly believe with all my heart and soul that every person, young, old, disabled and not disabled has something very special to offer this world. It’s just a matter of looking inside your heart and soul and seeing where that gift lies. It took me a long time to realize my purpose was to help people and to show them that disabled people are no different than anyone else. So, the real question my friends is “How can I help YOU?


7 thoughts on “How can I help YOU?

  1. Hi Jason,
    What an amazing and joyful spirit you are! Thank you for lighting up the world with your special gifts and talents. You are helping people everyday just by being you. But you’re also helping people when you ask them to help you! Helping others makes everyone feel better about themselves. I struggle with asking other people for help too. So you’re not alone. We can both work on this. Thanks for your beautiful heartfelt post!

  2. Very well written Jason, and I would recommend that you either contact Wal-Mart management by phone, or write the manager.

    Also, contact your local *people with disabilities* rep (or whatever they are called in your area), and have them call for you (and others). My friend Lockie is also in a WC and head of of the (local) *people with disabilities* I believe (he was when I last saw him on TV). He actively teaches and enforces regulations regarding accessabiltiy. Not just the radius of a WC accessable bathroom stall (10′) but also the needs of consumers.

    Now, you may not have this in your Walmart, but here in Canada, they provide a free “Letter to the President”. (that’s Walmart Pres, not the health care buddy) right at customer service.

    But, since they do the shelving, where they do it, they might not be aware of the need.
    And you would never have to ask again, if you had it pre-arranged.
    (Get me the number of Walmart, I’ll call for you,
    I have some inside scoops on how the place runs 😉

  3. Well Jason, I think you have said it very well! We all have those items that we need to buy that would make it difficult to ask someone to help with. I can relate to your feelings and have felt the same way at times. My problem seems to be simply that I am short. Most of the time I have to ask people that are taller to reach things for me. If there is no one around, I hate to admit it but I have been known to try and climb the shelf. Hehehe! But that is just between you and me.

    I do admire your ability to be so independent and try to do as much as you can for yourself. Honestly there are times when we all need a little help. I do agree there are some wonderful people and they can make such a big difference in the little things they do. Blessing to you and all that you have done for us already. If there is ever anything I can do for you also, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you my friend for being here!

    :0)s and Hugs!

    Judy Schneider

  4. (as an aside on the mystery of people with disabilities)
    Many of us have heard/seen “Guide Dogs” as in: “Seeing Eye”
    Stores and restaurants make exceptions for “Seeing Eye Dogs”

    A friend of mine enlightened me to a new experience, the “Hearing Ear” Dog,
    as she is deaf. The many refusals of entry, because people don’t understand is incredible. She does not have to be blind to have a *Guide Dog* anymore than someone has to be in a WC to park in a blue parking spot!

  5. Please do not ever be embarassed to ask for help. On Maslow’s Hierarcy, their is a depiction of life’s stages that we should experience to live a fulfilled life. The first state is dependence and the last stage is interdependence. The last stage is a sign that we have arrived!
    When I need help from someone, I give people the Shrek movie cat look, and most of the time people offer to do more than I ask.

    You just be yourself, when I help someone, I feel like a million bucks and I feel blessed. This is the feeling you will impart to others. Take care.

    J M

  6. Jason, well written Your question “How can I help You” – you already have helped me by your honesty about what is inside of you
    Jason, let your little light shine and now that you have set your Spirit free – radiate that love out into your World
    Richest blessings

  7. I think that fear is what keeps us from being honest with others. Asking for help is taking a risk, expressing our need for assistance…but I firmly believe that by facing that fear and asking for assistance when needed, whoever and wherever you are, that you grow a bit more each time as a person! I admire your honesty with your writing! Have you perhaps considered contacting your local newspaper to see about submitting weekly articles? I did that here in my town, and people really enjoy it! You are doing a great job with this blog, and I know it’s not always easy!

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