Monday, April 9, 2012

From Where I Sit: Not What You Were Expecting

Something struck me as funny recently; a reoccurring theme. As you know, I work in PR, a very in your face, in the lime light, front and center type of field. . .and I love every minute of it!

Prior to meeting a possible business partner/donor/visitor I usually have correspondence with them over the phone and/or email. During those conversations, whichever they may be, I never say,

"Oh and by the way, I'm in a wheelchair."

What would be the point? It doesn't define me, nor does it have any barring on my work capabilities.

So when it comes time for the face-to-face first meeting this is how the scenario usually goes:

I get the call from our front desk telling me my guest has arrived. I come out to greet the guest, approach them with a hello and perfect PR smile and then wait for it. That split second where they look at me in almost disbelief that I am "the Jamie" they have been talking with because of my being in a wheelchair.

I laugh to myself because it happens almost EVERY TIME.

P.S. Congratulations to Anash who won the $50 gift card to Handbag Heaven.


  1. I remember us discussing this and it reminds me of the Seinfeld where this lady Donna Chang represents herself as Chinese on the phone when she is actually shortening her name "Changstein." People are confused when a blonde caucasian women introduces herself as Donna Chang.
    At least you're not leading anyone on like Ms. Chagnstein but at least you're laughing about it; it's kind of funny!

  2. Hahaha. I dated a guy who had the same experience. He said when a client showed up in person, they were always startled to find he was a wheelchair user. It's not like it's necessary to announce that to people ahead of time! I certainly don't tell clients my eye color, right?

  3. The wheelchair may not be how you define yourself, but it is certainly how others define you. At least initially. I was apprehensive when a black family first moved into our neighborhood. But after getting to know him, I realized he wasn't go invite his homies over and do drive bys. He is a professional man and his wife runs her own business. After I reconciled my initial fears with what I know now, the fact that he is black isn't important. I think you should make a small joke to ease the discomfort of first meeting you. Only because you recognize the other person's discomfort.

    1. It isn't exactly discomfort; it is more so surprise because that is not what they were expecting. I actually love the fact that I am able to break those barriers down with people.

  4. I disagree with you and Ruth. It is discomfort. I met with a rep I only talked to on the phone. And he walked with a pronounced limp. He said, "I don't know if you noticed, but I limp when I walk." I was thinking "of course, I noticed! How could I not?!?" He told me he injured himself rock climbing. All I could think about was my fiance. He started rock climbing to keep in shape. He is a novice but tries to keep up with experienced climbers. I wouldn't be able to handle it if he were injured like that or worse.