According to Scope, 67 percent of the British public feel uncomfortable talking to a disabled person for fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.
Jillian Hamm, of Orlando, Florida, a lead teacher at Quest, Inc.—a non-profit service provider to individuals with developmental disabilities—however, has no reservation befriending disabled people.
She takes it upon herself to lend disabled folk a helping hand wherever she can.
So, it took me a while to post this, maybe because I was simply in denial! But this is Holden with the teacher he’s…
In a Facebook post shared in early November 2018, Hamm recalled an encounter outside her neighbor’s apartment with a young man who had Down syndrome.
Worried the guy might be in the wrong place, she approached without a second thought.
They got talking, and Hamm found out he had lost his way.
It was a chilly day with the temperature dipping to a low 30 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. -1 degree Celsius), but the young lad was dressed fairly thinly.
Hamm wanted to help him find his way home, so she tried getting him to talk some more in the hopes she could ascertain where he lived.
“I asked him tons of questions and tried to call all the phone numbers in his phone, to no avail,” she wrote.
Not getting anywhere on her own, she called the police for help.
While waiting for the police to arrive, Hamm kindly offered him water and some snacks.
The guy drank four cups of water during the wait, so Hamm invited him inside to use the bathroom.
“I had offered for him to come inside until the police showed up, but thankfully he said no. I always teach my clients, don’t go inside a strangers house!” she wrote.
Still, he agreed to come inside Hamm’s house to use the bathroom only when the police arrived.
Today I saw a young man with Down syndrome standing outside my neighbors apartment. It didn’t seem right so I walked…
As soon as he came inside Hamm’s house—with the police by his side—he was instantly attracted to Hamm’s Xbox, and uttered an “Ohhhh.”
Knowing he was keen to play the Xbox, Hamm said, “Yes that’s an Xbox, do you want to turn it on?”
The man was obviously excited. He sat on the couch and grabbed a controller right away.
“I offered to heat up his lunch, which was a microwavable bowl of ravioli he had in his pocket and now I had a new friend!” Hamm wrote.
A few hours later, through the police’s investigation, Hamm learned that he had somehow hopped on a bus or walked to the apartment to visit a friend who “doesn’t live here or maybe even exist.”
In the end, the police gave the man a safe ride home.
“I’m SOOOO thankful I saw him. It was so cold today and if I hadn’t talked to him at that moment, I worry he would have left my apartment complex and not been able to get back home,” Hamm wrote.
“I also found out he has diabetes so going without his treatments would have certainly been deadly!”
Luckily, Hamm didn’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with the disabled man. If she were reluctant to help, the man may have landed himself in dangerous situations.
“Don’t be afraid to approach people with disabilities if you feel something isn’t right!!!!!!” she concluded. “You could be saving their life!”
So, don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand to a disabled person should you perceive a need. You never know just how much they really need it, like in the case above, and how much their family would appreciate it.