Mpumalanga woman on crutches describes Covid-19 lockdown shopping difficulty
A Mpumalanga woman has issued a plea to South Africans to show kindness to people with disabilities attempting to shop for essential groceries‚ while sharing an unhelpful experience of her own.
Michelle Schoeman told TimesLIVE that because she was on crutches‚ she attempted to join a queue she thought would serve the elderly‚ pregnant women and the disabled at a supermarket in Mashishing.
She took to social media to detail her experience‚ which she described as embarrassing.
“I attempted to go the shops. Here I am‚ a handicapped person. I jump out of the car and walk up to the police lady at the front of the queue and asked if I can go inside. And she said‚ ‘No‚ you can go to the back of the queue with everybody else‚ we only give preference to the elderly‚” she recalled.
In disbelief‚ Schoeman wondered how the policewoman could not make an exception for her and waited a little longer.
“She just blatantly ignored me from there‚” she said.
She recalled feeling humiliated.
“The stares from people… They looked at me as if I just wanted to skip the queue‚” she said.
“I was quite upset‚ but more dumbfounded actually. I decided to just leave and go elsewhere because I am generally not a confrontational person‚” she told TimesLIVE.
Schoeman has used her experience to urge fellow citizens to exercise patience and kindness to one another during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“My people‚ this is a pandemic that we’re all facing‚ we need to be tolerant of each other‚ we cannot be so cruel and not be considerate of other people. Allowing someone [disabled] to get in before [them in the queue] is only human‚ it is not the end of the world‚” she said in the video.
“They are already disadvantaged due to their circumstances‚ we as humans would have failed our role in humanity to treat them with utmost respect‚ they didn’t ask to be there‚ we have it in our power to make their life a little easier for however brief that moment might be‚” she told TimesLIVE.
Her video has since gone viral with some Facebook users commending her ability to speak fluent Zulu and Tswana.
Asked how she learnt the two native languages‚ she said she learnt the hard way years back as she had been employed as a general labourer and none of her colleagues would speak English or Afrikaans to her.
Despite the not-so pleasant shopping experience‚ Schoeman said she was confident the country would overcome the pandemic.
“We’ll make it through‚ we’re resilient and we’re fun‚” she added.
Source: TMG Digital.