How do you handle feeling threatened by a disabled person?
November 6, 2012 1:35 PM Subscribe
I have this nagging feeling of guilt from a situation that happened about a month ago. I'm not really sure what I should have done in this situation, and I'm conflicted by my feelings. It wasn't the end of the world, but it really frightened me and I'm wondering how I could have better handled it.
posted by anoirmarie to Human Relations (26 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My SO and I went to the zoo about a month ago. It was during the regular work week, so there weren't a lot of people there. At some point while making our way through I had to use the restroom. We were walking through a fairly remote section at that point, so there were no animal enclosures open, the refreshment stands were all closed and there were no staff members to be seen, but the restroom was open, so I made my way towards the doors. As I was walking up there, I noticed a group of mentally disabled adults sitting at a table. There were several men, and a couple of women. I'm not sure if there was a chaperone there or not. For some reason, I had a bad feeling, but I shrugged it off and proceded to the women's restroom. The bathroom was huge and empty, which was kind of eerie and it made me feel a little on edge. When I walked out of the bathroom stall I had used, there was a man standing in the doorway with his arms up against the frame. He was definitely one of the disabled adults I had seen on my way in. It really frightened me. So, I yelled for him to get the hell out of my way. He didn't move, so I ran towards the door and pushed him out of my way. I don't really know what his reaction was. I was too shook up to have noticed. I ran all the way down the path to where my SO was waiting. I told him what had happened, and he comforted me. He asked if I wanted to go back and say something, or report something, but I was too scared. I felt guilty because the man was obviously mentally disabled, but I can't shake the feeling that I should have said something to someone in charge, whether that be someone at the zoo, or someone chaperoning the group.
Has something like this ever happened to you before? Did I overreact? Should I have done something more? How should I have better handled that situation?