An ode to the airport wheelchair drivers
I’d like to take a moment to sing the praises of somebody many of you will never have met: the people who wheelchair you through airports. Or, more precisely, you may not have truly seen them. Let me explain. I have gotten to know a few of them pretty well. I even know one guy’s name, but I won’t give it here because I didn’t ask permission.
One of my close friends, let’s call her Kit, was born with a serious spinal condition. She is, in the true meaning of the word, a genius. I can’t tell you what her government job is, but when she sees the Oval Office on TV shows like Scandal she can tell you exactly how many things they got wrong. She texted me awhile back saying she felt very embarrassed to use the wheelchair drivers at the airport. If anyone should be embarrassed, it’s Charles Darwin. To put one of the most brilliant minds our country has to offer in a casing that can’t walk 100 feet was REALLY DUMB. We want this brain to be mobile. We WANT this brain able to do its thing anytime, anywhere. Having this brain in such a fragile casing is like creating an egg only instead of a yolk there’s a nuclear weapon inside. We shouldn’t have to worry one wrong move costs our nation untold misery.
But I digress. I fucking love the wheelchair people. Believe it or not, by the time I’ve ridden in the car, gone through ticketing and checked my carryon (I do NOT do luggage. Nothing. Nada. A purse is almost my limit) there’s no way I’m taking off my shoes and coat, giving up my cane, walking through the silly machine, finding my gate, using the bathroom then boarding. Sweet baby Buddha. This sequence of events would be performed without a wheelchair if you threatened to take away my lifetime’s supply of chocolate but not for anything less. So, I ask for a wheelchair.
Airlines may suck at a lot of things but let me tell you, I haven’t ever been let down by a wheelchair driver. They meets me at the airport door, stop for anything I want (bathroom? Of course. ATM? No problem. Pretzel because all other food makes me want to puke? One Auntie Anne’s coming right up). I don’t think I could take Baby alone, so when Mac has Baby, we all get to load up in the little golf cart and whiz through O’Hare or National.
My favorite guy at O’Hare is a man with an obvious intellectual disability. Doing this job right takes his full concentration and he’s very careful to do it right. Somehow there’s a weird cloak of invisibility (sorry, J.K. Rowling) that can envelop people with disabilities. In my temporary status as a person with mobility issues I see it now. I’m pretty sure the perfect murder involves looking disabled. Nobody sees you. Their eyes glide right on by.
I’m thankful for the airport wheelchair drivers of the world. Next time you see one, really see one. Trust me, for the people who need them we really, really need them.
And Kit– don’t be embarrassed. They’re putting food on the table in an honest job and you KNOW you can’t walk that far. Besides, honey…nobody sees us. You know they don’t.