Chloe’s story

Walking with a frame has shown me that expectations from strangers can be very low.

When I had graduated from university and was looking for a job, a woman at a local job agency handed me a form for unemployment benefits. She just assumed I couldn’t work due to my walking frame. In actual fact, I have a first-class degree and am more than able to work in many different roles. But for some reason so many people underestimate me.

Interactions with strangers can be awkward. Parents steer their children out of my way when they have questions. I wish they wouldn’t put their awkwardness onto their child.

Then sometimes overconfident people will help with my frame when I don’t ask them to, like the man who jammed my frame into the back of a car the wrong way. I didn’t even ask for help!

One thing I want people to know is that my life is far from unhappy – I’m not a person you need to pity.

I have an exciting and incredibly fulfilled life and I wouldn’t change anything about my disability, I don’t need your well wishes or prayers.

People have said ‘good for you’ when I’m getting drinks for me and my friends in the pub. I’m out for a drink with friends, doing something lots of people enjoy, I wonder if they would say the same to someone without a disability? Recently, in the supermarket I was laughing to myself at a joke. A man walking by saw me and said ‘‘It’s lovely to see people like you smile.’ – I was confused – trust me, it’s not sad to be me.

One thing I would love to change about public perceptions, is that disability isn’t something to pity, there’s nothing “wrong” with me and there are so many interesting things about me beyond what you first see.