Assumptions Are Demeaning

In Everyone has one, Opinion by Jessica Pelasky

Photo of Jessica Pelasky in a manual wheelchair; she is the owner of Plucky's Second Thought

Plucky’s Second Thought is Jessica Pelasky

A few weeks ago, I accompanied Mom to Kroger’s grocery store to do a little shopping. We get to the checkout counter and as the cashier is ringing us up, she glances down at me over the groceries and says “Hello,” in which I respond back with a polite “Hi, how are you?”

She then proceeds to have a slight pause followed by, “So what grade are you in?” She looks at me, and just assumes that I am younger than 25 years old because I’m no taller than 3’3″.

A week or so later I go to the Ohio State University Medical Center to wait on my mom for her yearly doctor’s appointment at the James Cancer unit. It never seems to amaze me that every time I’m there with her, the nurses and hospital staff assumes that I’m the patient who needs to be seen by the doctor.

On the same visit at the Ohio State University Medical Center,which is about an hour south from home, a nurse walks by while I am in the waiting room, she looks and me and proceeds to say, “I remember you when you were a little baby.”

I just smile at her knowing that she assumes that I was someone else because I am smaller than most people, but I know for a fact that it isn’ t me she is

thinking of.

Lastly, just last weekend, I am working at a craft show about an hour east of home and this guy comes up to the booth and smiles at me and says, “Hey, what have you been doing since high school?” I look at him, clearly knowing that I do not know this guy, but he assumes that I am who he thought I was.

This world has so many assumptions of people that they do not take the time to actually look at the person they are speaking to and think about what comes out of their mouth, before it does. While there are various different kinds of medical conditions, it doesn’t always mean we are all the same and that we all look alike.

I’ve dealt with all of the stares, questions, and comments throughout my almost 26 years of life; so I guess you could say that I’m used to it by now. But it just would be nice if people actually took the time to get to know someone before they judge them on what they see or think they see.

With so many comments that I receive each day of my life, there’s always a comment that makes me smile every once in a while, and that is, “Hi, how are you?”

It’s truly amazing how that simple statement can make one person be happy. They never once asked me a question about my appearance or assumed that I was someone that I’m not; they simply wanted to speak to me as a human being. I know you’ll never change the world completely, but as the saying goes, you just take one day at a time.

What’s the biggest assumption made about you because of your disability? Sound off in the comment section.