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"I make every effort to live life to the fullest, despite being confined to a wheelchair, and dealing with life after an organ transplant. I hope the information contained in these pages will help others do the same."

Gordon Kirkland

Here's the Official List of the Top 10 Things That Annoy People Who Use Wheelchairs...
(Courtesy of The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation)

1. Able-bodied people parking in accessible parking spaces 37%
2. Accessible bathroom stalls being used by an able-bodied person 12%
3. Talking over my head as if I'm not here 9%
4. Continuing to insist on helping me after I've said no thanks 8.3%
5. Congratulating me for things like going to the grocery store like it's worthy of an Olympic medal 6.1%
6. Strangers asking what happened to me


7. Not inviting me to an event because you are protecting me from some frustration (let me figure it out) 5.3%
8. Patting me on my head. Don't. 5.0%
9. Holding on to the back of my chair so I can't move 4.4%
10. Speaking slowly to me because I'm in a wheelchair 3.5%

Comments from Gordon Kirkland

I am pretty much in agreement with this entire list. I'm not overly concerned about Number 2, if all of the other stalls are occupied, but don't use that stall first or don't sit there reading the newspaper, or as a convenient changing room. For some reason, many places put baby changing stations inside the accessible stalls, when they would be better placed elsewhere.

I would however like to add a Number 1A to my personal list: People who feel free to push me out of the way in a store when I am looking at something in a display case or on a shelf. It is surprising just how often this happens. You wouldn't push an able-bodied person out of the way. Why then do some people feel that it is OK to move someone in a wheelchair?

I was a dinner speaker at an event a few weeks ago. A person seated beside me decided to use the handle on the back of my wheelchair as a handy handle to help him stand up. My wheels were not locked and it caused my chair to veer suddenly. Luckily, I had just set down my coffee cup.

Related to Number 10 are the people who feel they have to speak loudly to me. Being a paraplegic does not make me deaf!

I get a kick out of people who question how I do comedy. It's as though I should have lost my sense of humor in the accident. Nope. Just my sense of feeling in my legs. I often incorporate being in a wheelchair into my material, because, like all aspects of life, there is humor to be found there. People sometimes look at me incredulously and ask, "You do stand-up?" I reply, "No. I do sit-down."

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