Ever been in a social situation where you notice something, but aren’t sure what to do about it? Where you end up doing nothing, or something entirely awkward or unintentionally dense?
Mino Solomon, a Division 1 Collegiate football player, was paralyzed from the waist down in a weightlifting accident — and endured all kinds of responses to being in a chair. Normal, weird, rude, awkward…you name it.
Most people are just historically awkward during difficult times.
But this was something I wanted to explore: why is it that some people’s instinct is to see someone with a disability and panic?
Well — I say ‘panic’ strategically, because I believe the vast majority of us don’t mean to treat anyone differently: it’s simply that we don’t know what to do. What’s normal vs rude, helpful vs hurtful…which leads to a lot of poor responses and awkwardness.
I asked Mino his thoughts on this, which I’ll share with you directly:
So next time you see someone different than yourself— just find a way to treat them just like everyone else, and respect what they say. See? Not so hard.