The Word "NORMAL"


    I HATE the word “Normal”.

    As mentioned in previous posts, I pride myself on being a positive person and keeping this blog as upbeat as possible.

    But sometimes humans get in the way of this…

    A few nights ago, a member of staff from the Shanaz Indian Restaurant in Truro, caused serious offence to myself and a group of my wheelchair-user friends.

    I debated whether I should write about this or not, but then I thought - SOD IT.

    This blog wouldn’t be called "A Life On Wheels" if I didn’t share the good, the bad and the ugly.

    Please note I won’t be mentioning any particular staff names in this post. However, be assured that I have already contacted the restaurant’s Manager directly with a formal complaint.

    To cut a long story short, we had a table booked for 12 people (including 6 wheelchair users). The table we had been allocated was at the very back of the restaurant, which was fine.

    Whenever we go out as a group, it takes us a while to get everyone positioned and seated in the right place.

    The waiter came over and started to help us move tables etc. He then made a sly comment about how we should have specified the SIZE of our wheelchairs when booking.

    I instantly spoke up and informed him that when I booked, I made it fully aware there would be 6 wheelchairs and that there is no real size difference between an electric or a manual chair.

    This is not something I have ever had to specify before.

    It was his next comment that really shook us. Whilst helping to rearrange our positions, he then made the following comment:

    “wheelchair people should sit this side, normal people on this side”.

    From this, I instantly saw red.

    “NORMAL PEOPLE?!

    EXCUSE ME?!”

    When paying for my meal at the end of the night, he then mentioned again about specifying the size of our chairs when booking next time.

    Mate, if you think there’s going to be a next time you’ve got another thing coming!

    He never actually apologised for his use of language, but instead tried to use the excuse that his English “isn’t great”.

    Oh thats funny, because we’ve literally been having a perfectly understandable conversation all night!

    This got my back up even more. Making the comment itself is one thing, but don’t ever play the ‘race’ card with me.

    Using the word ‘normal’ against a wheelchair user is highly offensive and yes I'm going to go there - it's discrimination.

    If the shoe were on the other foot and I had used a racial term against him - there would have been uproar!

    Another member of staff also made a few unnecessary comments throughout the night. Examples such: "I hope you're not drink driving in that wheelchair" and "I wish I was in one of those!"

    I’m so disappointed because I’m a big fan of their food and would class myself as a fairly regular customer.

    The reason I'm speaking out and submitting this complaint is purely to make people aware of their ignorance.

    I am not looking to get anything out of this other than an improvement in their customer service and staff training. I have no intention of ever eating there again and I'm genuinely gutted that this has happened.

    The worst thing is, I could really eat a curry right now... ffs.