I don't know if she was his mother or his staff - but in this case, all that matters is what she did and how she did it. I had come into a waiting room, needing to have a check in with a specialist, and waited until they moved a couple chairs so I could place my wheelchair out of the way. Waiting rooms nearly never leave spaces for wheelchair parking. I noticed right away a fellow with a significant disability sitting, also in a chair, beside a woman old enough to be his mother. She looked very prim, he just looked bored. She was reading a book she'd brought along, he just looked bored.
We played 'waiting room lottery' and everyone would look a bit crushed when someone else's name was called out. We all watched with longing as they got to move up a rung from 'waiting room hell' to 'in the specialist office hell'. Then, suddenly, the receptionist got up and went over to the man in the other wheelchair and said, in a sing song kind of voice, "it's your turn now, sweety." He looked at her and I noticed that when he did his lips moved in a half smile. The prim woman with him, put her book down, and said to him, as if he'd made a comment, "Oh, I see, would you like me to tell her what that look means?" She looked at him for a moment more, I saw no discernible change in his face. "Oh, OK," she said, as if he'd said something, "I'll get your board."
She reached into the bag at the back of his chair and brought out a small board. I could see when she opened it that it was a communication board of the kind with pictures and words underneath. She held it flat, in front of him. The receptionist looked annoyed that this was taking so long but she knew we were all watching now and she wanted to present herself carefully to us all. He took only a couple of seconds to point to a large picture up on the right corner. It looked as if it was prominently placed because it was used often.
The receptionist said, "What does that say?"
The elderly woman looked at the fellow with her and said, "Would you like me to read it to her?" Again, she looked carefully at his face, "OK, then."
She turned to the woman and said, "It says, 'Please don't speak to me like I'm a fucking puppy, respect me as a man."
The receptionist was flustered, stumbled out an apology and suggested they go to their appointment. I couldn't hear much more because of the sound of cheering in my own head.