A couple of days ago I was waiting to pick up some medication in a busy hospital pharmacy. There was a boy aged about nine also waiting. I pulled up in my wheelchair and waited nearby.
The boy couldn’t take his eyes off me. I smiled in what I hoped was a friendly way but his face remained unchanged and expressionless. I ignored him and carried on waiting (and ticcing).
He’d been staring at me for ten minutes when a woman sat down next to him, nudging him gently. He looked a bit put out when she began to chat to him. She noticed him looking at me and asked, “Is that your mum?”
His reaction, instant and angry, was “No way!” The woman looked shocked by the force of his response. And he continued to stare at me with disgust.
I said, “We’re not here together, but it wouldn’t be that bad if we were.”
He seemed stunned that I’d spoken and his expression softened slightly.
Soon after that my number was called so I wheeled off to collect my prescription.
I’m used to people staring at me. Children in particular like to look, usually with natural curiosity written all over their faces. The reaction of the boy in the pharmacy was more unusual, which is why I spoke up.