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What is the general thought when it comes to letting people sit on your personal chair? I am not a wheelchair user myself, but I can gather that a wheelchair can become a very personal piece of equipment, and there is always a risk that the person trying the chair out could damage the frame or the components.
The most common pet peeve in this case from what I’ve read from users is that they are annoyed when a stranger sits on their chair without asking. It makes sense, its your chair that you use to get around and it is obviously in your possession, why would the stranger ask in the first place? (to answer my own question, probably curiosity.)
Wheelchair users seem to not mind as much if a family member sits in their chair (even without asking) because of the obvious reason that they are family. Even with this information in mind, wheelchair users are very likely to avoid letting a child use their chair because of the higher probability that they will break something.
If your child ends up sitting in someone’s wheelchair, you should be conscious of the fact that it is more than likely a very expensive piece of equipment, and that there is a probability that the child will break something.
Shoes Compared to Wheelchairs: Nope
Some people have made the example of comparing your wheelchair to your shoes, this makes sense in a way because they are both a means to get around indoors or outdoors. But on the other hand, no, wheelchairs are not like shoes in general. Why? Because wheelchairs tend to be A LOT harder to get in the right size and they are very pricy as well.
If you had someone wear your shoes and destroy them somehow, you would more than likely be able to find replacement footwear within a few days at most. With a wheelchair user, you have to keep in mind that most chairs can be in the 100's of dollar range, and take weeks, maybe months to get in the most fortunate situations.
What do Other Users Think?
There is small crowd of wheelchair users that may be more sensitive to the issue of letting you sit in their chair. This may be because they value it very highly, or because they have contempt for people that can walk and choose to sit in a wheelchair temporarily. Yes, this sounds snarky coming from the author of this article, but I am basing this on reading wheelchair user comments regarding this very topic.
So it is not my personal opinion, but the opinion of some users out there.
In conclusion, even if you are a relative to a wheelchair user, you should always ask before sitting in their chair under any circumstance.
Not only is it disrespectful to not ask in some instances, but in others you may be held liable for anything that happens while you are seated.
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