Thursday, October 21, 2010


yeah, okay, the poorer a person is, the higher their chance of using public transportation and the more limited their options are for healthy eating.  i'm not here to judge people for their weight or their wealth.  i will say, however, that when your weight impacts the daily lives of a busful of people, something has gone terribly wrong.

how might this happen?  now, i always thought wheelchairs were for those whose legs don't work, but that seems to be changing.  there's been a pretty strong up-tick in the number of people who have motorized wheelchairs due to obesity.  i don't go running up to them, testing their legs for motor function, so, who knows, maybe the peoples' legs are indeed non-functioning. 

nonetheless, on one fateful bus ride home one day, one such passenger was boarding.  while slightly slow, when you ride the bus, you don't get too annoyed by wheelchair delays.  folks need to get around after all.  so i just went right ahead reading my book, paying no attention.  after getting through a couple paragraphs and realizing we still weren't moving, i looked up.  the wheelchair apparatus could not lift the passenger and their motorized wheelchair.  i know mta may not keep their equipment tip-top ship-shape, but i've never seen a wheelchair apparatus simply be too weak.

alright, well no big deal.  the passenger would just have to wait for the next bus, right?  sucks to be them, but what can you do?  the bus driver apologizes profusely and the passenger seemed understanding enough.  when the driver goes to reset the wheelchair apparatus to a set of steps for ambulatory passengers, however, it became apparent that the attempt to lift this passenger had broken something else.  the door wouldn't close.  so, despite all the cursing and upset people, we were now in the same situation as the wheelchair-bound passenger.  and while i've yet to experience the social stigma of obesity, all us on that bus were put in an obese person's shoes for about half an hour that day, waiting for the next bus.

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