Thank God for my cane! When I arrived in Charlotte, NC on U.S. Airways it was snowing and I waited for everyone else to de-plane so that I didn’t “hold them up”. As I made my way to the door I realized we didn’t have a jetway…..only metal steps covered in snow, and no one was around to help me.
There’s only one way off of a plane like that….so I threw my cane on the ground and crawled down that steep set of stairs backwards with my briefcase in front. I knelt on each metal step sliding down to the next steep step and balancing my computer case in front, hoping it didn’t crash to the ground too! My knees were wet and cold and my hands were cramping from holding on so tightly. Where was the flight crew? No where to be found – everyone had scrambled away from the heavy snow.
Thank God for my cane! I found it on the slushy ground and shuffled away from the little Regional jet on the tarmac toward the door. But which door was the right one? After an attempt, I did find an unlocked door – and there was a U.S. Airways employee…in her overcoat, gloves and scarf gingerly holding the door open for me. Do you think she could have offered me some assistance while I was wrestling my briefcase down the steep metal stairwell? Maybe I expect too much?
I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned that trying to struggle through crowds, to attempt to lift heavy items or try to climb in the attic are only deeds that result in unsavory consequences. And I’ve also learned that I will NEVER fly on U.S. Airways again…in rain, snow or shine.
I’m fairly independent. I try not to impose on others, and will ask for help and assistance when I need it. I walked onto the plane when I boarded in Austin – I didn’t ask to be wheeled in a chair or carried by a burly man (not that there was one around!). I was willing to walk off of the plane in Charlotte – but no one prepared me for the snowy climb down a steep stairwell. I was afraid to attempt sliding down on my butt – and thankfully I didn’t wear a dress!
So what lesson did I learn from this experience? From now on I’ll make it VERY clear that I want assistance….a wheelchair when I really don’t need it. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that if I DON’T speak up, then they assume I am happily willing to crawl down those icy stairs to the tarmac in Charlotte. And I’ve learned that I really am grateful for my cane!