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This article in a part of our Disability Concerns Canada Summer 2022 newsletter. You can find the rest here: DC Canada Summer 2022 Newsletter. Our theme this season is coming together.

I had a very interesting interaction with a fellow shopper when doing my groceries earlier this week and it has been in my thoughts ever since.  

I can only walk short distances because of arthritis in my knees, so I gratefully make use of the scooter that my Safeway store makes available for people like me. However, when sitting on the scooter, I cannot reach items on the top shelves of the store and require help to access them.  

I have no hesitation asking for this help, and everyone who has ever helped me indicated they were happy to do so. Sometimes, people offer me help when I don’t need it, and I gratefully decline.

On this occasion, I needed a package of toilet paper that was on sale but was at the back of the top shelf. I stopped the first person (couple) that came along and asked if they could reach a package for me. The lady said ‘sure’ and proceeded to stand on the lowest shelf and get one for me.  

In fact, she realized the toilet paper was on sale at a very good price an

d proceeded to get three packages for herself and others she was associated with! She actually thanked me for asking for help, because through this she was able to take advantage of the sale as well.  

She then asked me an interesting question: “Do you have to ask for help regularly when you do groceries?”  

The question surprised me and I replied, “I want to continue to do my groceries independently as long as possible, and the scooter helps a lot. But, sometimes, I do need help to reach something, and I don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are always people around who are willing to help me.”

She praised me for being willing to ask for help and said she has great difficulty doing this herself when she needs it.

We both ended up going through the teller at the same time, and we walked out of the store together. She again thanked me for asking for her help, so she had the opportunity to take advantage of the sale as well. She also confided to me that she didn’t have enough money to pay for all her groceries and had to ask the person she was with to help her pay for them. I was blown away by her confession! She closed the conversation by again thanking me and calling me an angel.

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