April 13, 2007

I’m NOT Richard!

Filed under: Disability, Life, What were they thinking?!, Wheelchair — Kim & Sophie @ 2:19 pm

chairDo people “really” pay attention?  Since moving into this building in December, I’ve been called “Richard” more times than I can count!  This wouldn’t bother me so much if I wasn’t female!  It’s not like I don’t look like a female.  I have long hair, my chest is definatly not flat like a male’s, and I don’t sound like a male. 

The problem is there is a guy who also lives in this building who uses a wheelchair and has a service dog.  So, every time anyone sees me they assume I must be Richard!  Let me point out some differences here:

1.  I am female.  He is male!
2.  I have long hair.  He doesn’t.
3.  I use a manual wheelchair.  He uses a power wheelchair.
4.  I have a female yellow lab. guide dog.  He has a male golden retriever service dog.
5.  My dog is very calm.  His dog will run you down in the hallway it is so hyper!
6.  I sound like a female, and speak clearly.  He sounds like a male and it is very hard to understand him because he has cerebral palsy.hischair

These are just the main differences.  The people who mistake me for him are the people that have obviously known him awhile!  He’s lived here for a long time.  There’s one older lady who always calls me Richard and when I say I’m not she still calls me Richard.  Then she always asks me if I’m new here and welcomes me to the building.  This happens about once every week!

Today in the lobby, I was at the front desk talking to the concierge and another guy came out of the media room and said “I’m here Richard!”.  Now, seeing I was the only person in the lobby besides the concierge, it was obvious he was talking to me!  I turned around and he said “You’re not Richard!”.  Like he had to tell me this so I would know!  (Just like they always do!)  I said no I wasn’t, and he asked the concierge what he should say!  Talk about a blow to my self-esteem!

 This proves one thing.  People see a wheelchair and think it has to be the person they know!  Do they see a blonde and think “hey there’s [insert name here]!”, or someone who is tall and think “oh there’s [insert name]!”?



  1. It’s *obviously* because you both have yellow dogs!

    Comment by Katja — April 21, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

  2. Well since my dog is a LABRADOR Retriever with short dark golden hair and a very white butt and his is a GOLDEN Retriever with very long and very light hair all over I doubt that. They are nothing alike. They are two different breeds, they are different colours with different shading, have different lengths of hair. Sophie is shorter and more solid and he is taller and very skinny. Sophie is very calm and will just sit there or walk past someone very calmly and his dog will literally leap onto whoever it passes and it’s so hyper he wont even get on the same elevator as someone else in case his dog jumps on them while they are in it, they are nothing alike. It would be very insulting for anyone to think Sophie is that dog because she is so well trained when he’s clearly not!

    Comment by Kim & Sophie — April 21, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

  3. he must be a rather young dog cuz assistance dogs do get a lot of training…

    Comment by ahiru — April 26, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  4. He’s not “that” young. It’s more because he’s not well trained (the school he came from is really not that great), and because his owner just lets him do whatever he wants. He jumps after Sophie so much she wont get on or off the elevator without making sure he’s not there and she pokes her head out the door before going out making sure he’s not there. His owner had to literally drag him inside the building on more than one occasion and a lot of the people in the building are scared Sophie will jump on them because of him.

    I’ve been asked so many times now if it’s “safe” to get on the elevator with me and if Sophie would “mind” because the “other dog” jumps on people when they are on the elevator with him and his owner wont let anyone else on with them or get on with anyone else because he will jump all over them.

    I wonder how he controls him in public?

    Comment by Kim & Sophie — April 26, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

  5. I think that Richard just avoids coming into contact with other people and other dogs when he is out. When I’ve seen them when I’ve taken Sophie out to pee he has almost run off the sidewalk to put as much space as possible between his dog and your guide hound.

    Comment by Julian — April 27, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  6. I know what you mean! If he’s on the same sidewalk as Sophie and I he will get as far away as he can and if he is coming out of the building when we are going in he will go really far in the opposite dirrection when he is outside so his dog is away form us. All he has to do is pull over to the side a little. His dog is sooo hyper!

    Comment by Kim & Sophie — April 27, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

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