October 9, 2016

Trapped upstairs with a stranger

Boy, what a day it’s been! I don’t know how I’m going to articulate the events of today, but I’ll try to do it justice. It was really one of those “you had to be there” situations.

Last Monday, I posted an ad in the local jobs group on Facebook, looking for a support worker to accompany me at outings to pubs and clubs. Unfortunately, the last person I interviewed, who I was excited about, didn’t work out. This is my third time posting the ad, but I made a few edits and what a difference it made this round. I received so many applications, I was overwhelmed. Once I began going through the applications, I realised half of the people didn’t want the job. They just wanted to be friends and hang out. I’m still unsure whether I will accept most of the offers, but it’ll be great to meet new people.

I organised five interviews for Friday. Out of the five, one was a no-show and two people cancelled with good reason. One of the remaining interviews looked promising though!

One of the cancellations from Friday rescheduled their interview for today at 3pm. However, earlier that day, a message came through from that person - “I am going to the Mornington market, do you want to come?”
I thought on it for a moment as they’d be coming to my place to pick me up. I never give strangers my address, I’ve interviewed many weird people in the past, and I always conduct the first interview in a public place. I recommend that others do this as you never know who you’re meeting. Typically though, I have good instincts when it comes to people, and my gut was telling me this person was fine, so I said yes.
I knew I could still say no if I felt uncomfortable when they arrived, however as soon as I had met them, I felt at ease.

We set off to the Mornington market. Damn, it was windy! Most of the market vendors began packing up early, so we went for lunch at Nando’s. After lunch, we decided to go and watch the Secret Life of Pets movie. We settled in, and the movie ads began rolling when the power went out (the luck we had!) We left the theatre but were compensated with free tickets for the inconvenience. As we headed towards the lift to exit, we were told it wasn’t working (there’s that luck again!).

Image description: Jono trapped on a landing with no ramp to get down to ground level.


So, I was stuck upstairs with a new support worker, someone I barely knew. Thinking on it, the day itself was a bit like a job interview or a trial with a few curveballs. Eventually, the security guards at the cinemas began carrying wheelchairs and people down, which was fine. Still, I rang my primary support worker and asked her if she could come and assist. I wanted to have someone who knew me well, to be there and guide in the process of getting down the stairs. While we waited for my main support worker to arrive, we had a few laughs about the day we had. What else were we going to do? Cry? Not my style.

My primary support worker arrived, and funnily enough, she was the nervous one in the group. The security guards carried my 120kg wheelchair down the stairs first, and then me. I was safe. I kept thinking about what an interesting first experience this was for the new worker. Still, credit to them, they didn’t bat an eyelid once during the whole day. I told them the job was theirs. I’d be a bastard if I didn’t offer it after how well they handled the situation. For the rest of the day, we talked and got to know each other more. I really think this is the right fit for me; it just took a good few months to find them. You know what they say though, good things come to those who wait.

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