Don't assume anything

When I moved to Kelowna in my 40s I was thrilled to be close to family again. I bought a lovely new condo and enjoyed being across the street from the Greenway. I had never experienced discrimination, and certainly did not expect it to happen here.

I dressed up for work, in skirts and dress pants, and always looked my best. My vehicle is always clean and I pride myself on being an upstanding citizen. The first time a senior came nose to nose with me in the mail room, asking if I belonged there, my jaw dropped. It happened again, and again. And then it got stranger: seniors were stalking me to and from my vehicle as if they expected me to steal something. This is not a senior’s only building. I am too polite and continued to respond to their questions of “belonging” with a positive “yes."  After a few YEARS of the abuse, I reluctantly moved.

I have disabilities now and sometimes need to use a handicap parking space. And while I try my best not to use those spots, I have been yelled at by many seniors. One person rolled down the window and yelled, pointing to her handicap sticker. I told that person that I have one too. Walking problems are not exclusive to seniors. I have many friends who are even more disabled.

Does it come down to “don’t assume, and don’t judge so quickly”? Don’t assume that because I am not yet a senior, that I do not have mobility issues. I have always believed that everyone is equal and deserves kindness; unless proven otherwise.

Sandra Gault

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