I believe that most people are generally good and want to be helpful. I can recount many experiences where someone came to my rescue. Most often, a family member, neighbor, or friend was there to help me out. However, what impresses me the most is the stranger that helps and then wanders off never to be seen again. I can just say, Thank You, and hope he or she understands how important their help was to me at that moment.
I had two experiences, however, where I needed help and a person or persons ignored me. I am sure these two stories are not unique and that others living with Kennedy's Disease have had similar experiences. Fortunately, there are many more positive stories and in these two cases, someone was there to help.
Philadelphia Airport: Everyone knows how hectic flying can be especially on a Friday afternoon. Everyone is anxious to get home and any delays just make matters worse. I was flying back from Atlanta around 5:00 PM on a Friday. When we arrived at the terminal, I was the second person in line when the flight attendant opened the hatch. I noticed that the jet-way floor was about four inches lower than the hatch. I slowed and reached out to each side to lower myself down when I was nudged from behind. My foot was almost on the jet-way ramp when it happened and the contact caused my knee to buckle. I went down and my overcoat and briefcase went flying. I rolled over just in time to see a mass of people stepping out of the plane. The horde never slowed down as they stepped around or over me heading up the ramp. I knew it would take me a couple of minutes to regain my strength so I crawled over to the side and tried to gather my possessions. People continued to flood out of the plane and most everyone saw me sitting there, but no one bothered to stop and ask if I needed assistance. After five minutes or so (and dozens of people passing me), a man stepped off the plane and made eye contact with me. He asked if I needed a hand. When I said yes, he yelled back to the flight attendant at the door to hold the people back a moment. He then reached down and helped me up. The flight attendant then came out and walked with me up the ramp to make certain I was fine. I will never forget how thoughtful the man was and he will never know how much I appreciated him taking the time to help.
Montreal Hotel: I was on a business trip in Canada. I had a busy day where I toured a couple of warehouses (miles of walking and many stairs) and visited a few customers. That evening we had a seven-course customer appreciation dinner at a five-star hotel downtown (not to be named except to say that it had something to do with British Royalty). It was a cold day and I was fatigued that afternoon (my legs were a little wobbly). I pulled up in front of the hotel's main entrance, gave my keys to the parking attendant, and grabbed my bags. As I walked over to the revolving door, I noticed two steps that needed navigating in order to enter the hotel. The way I was feeling at the time, those two steps looked like a mountain. There was a finely dressed bellman right inside the door and I tried to get his attention without any success. I was already cold, so I tried to step up while leaning forward to grab the door handle hoping to use it as leverage. Halfway through the motion, my knee just would not hold me up and I went down. In the fall, I wrenched my knee causing a shooting pain through the leg. Sitting on the first step, I found I was too fatigued to get up, so I slid over to the side to rest. Meanwhile, the finely dressed bellman just stood inside and watched me. The only thing I could conclude was that he must have felt I was drunk or something. Fortunately, after only a few minutes a man stepped out of the hotel and saw me sitting on the steps (I was hard to miss). He asked if I needed assistance and when I said yes, he raised his hand to signal the bellman. The bellman almost flew out the door to help. The two lifted me up and helped me inside. As I put weight on the leg, the man noticed I was limping badly and asked if the bellman should call a doctor. I said I was okay now that I was standing and thanked him for his help. They helped me to a chair so I could rest for several minutes before trying to register. Before stepping away, the bellman mentioned that if I needed his help, I should not hesitate to ask.