Getting Around In a Wheelchair
Getting around in a wheelchair isn’t always easy. You cannot go to a restaurant or a public event unless the building is handicap accessible. Going from place to place can be difficult if you cannot find a ride. Public transportation is an option, but you never know who else will be riding with you. If there are uncaring people riding, it can make the trip close to impossible. This is something that Francois Le Berre knew all too well.
Francois Le Berre
Francois is a disabled man living in Paris. He has multiple sclerosis, which is an autoimmune condition that makes it difficult for a person to move. It also causes issues with a person’s sight, their muscle strength, and widespread numbness and pain. It is believed that there are about two million people in the world who suffer from this condition.
October 18, 2018
On October 18, 2018, Francois and her brother were in the French suburb of Porte de Clichy, which is located just outside the center of Paris. Getting around wasn’t always easy for Francois because of his wheelchair; however, in the part of town, there were usually buses that had an area that was big enough for at least one wheelchair. If there were people already on the bus, they would need to move to allow wheelchairs to get by. Francois didn’t think too much about this. Why wouldn’t a person move out of the way for a man in a wheelchair?
Getting On the Bus
When the bus pulled up at the bus stop where Francois and his brother were standing, the bus driver immediately got out and put the access ramp in place. Typically, this is where the passengers on the bus move out of the way to allow the passenger the space that they need to get to the wheelchair area of the bus. On this day, not one person got up. Nobody moved out of the way so that Francois could get by.
An Angry Bus Driver
When passengers refused to make room for a wheelchair, the bus driver dealt out the perfect punishment. When nobody moved so that Francois could get by, the bus driver told everyone to get off the bus. He said, “Terminus! Everybody off the bus!” The passengers all looked confused and most didn’t know why they were being thrown from the bus. The driver walked over to Francois and his brother. He told them that they were more than welcome to get on the bus, and everyone else could wait for the next bus to come.
When the angry and confused passengers got off the bus, the driver went to talk to Francois and his brother. He told the two men that there is a good chance that everyone on that bus will rely on a wheelchair one day. Because of this, those people should show kindness to those who already use a wheelchair.
The fact that the bus driver stopped the bus and had to wait for all of the passengers to get off delayed his route, but he didn’t care. He had never met Francois before, and none of his family members were disabled; however, it didn’t matter. He wanted to teach these people a lesson about the way that you should treat another person, whether they are disabled or not.
Sharing the Story On Twitter
When word of the bus driver’s revenge against the thoughtless passengers on his bus, and it was posted on Twitter. The story was posted by Accessible Pour Tous, which translates to “accessibility for all.” The group describes themselves as a network that aims to defend accessibility rights for the disabled in France. When Francois’s story was posted, it quickly went viral. The post received 13,000 likes, and it was retweeted over 5,000 times. The comments on the post were from people praising the bus driver’s actions.
For the most part, the post received all positive feedback. One user wrote, “A superb reaction from this bus driver.” Another user wrote, “Bravo to the driver who emptied his bus to allow the disabled person to get on. Good lesson. I hope the other passengers understood.”
A Lesson Learned
What the bus driver did that day was amazing. You can only hope that the passengers on the bus would have learned a lesson from this experience. It takes just a second to move aside so that a disabled person can get by on a bus. There was no reason for these people to remain seated, thinking only about themselves. Kudos to that bus driver. If there were more people like him in the world, it would be much easier for the disabled to get around.