Have you ever been intimidated by a piece of steak, or a plastic straw? I have. In fact, I used to be absolutely terrified to go out to eat.
The more obstacles, the sweeter the bite
The more obstacles, the sweeter the bite
Above: Blog author Alex Lytwyn (left) out for dinner with his uncle Mark and his mother Sherry.

Have you ever been intimidated by a piece of steak, or a plastic straw? I have. In fact, I used to be absolutely terrified to go out to eat. 

For anyone with a disability who has felt a similar fear, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.

When I used to venture out to a restaurant, my head would hang low and I would try to shrink in my chair, as low as possible. I would try to eat the meal quickly, in the meantime making funny noises. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I took those silly emotions and drove over them with the tire of my wheelchair. 

For most people, going out for dinner, whether it’s fancy or fast food, is for the most part enjoyable. Next time you do so, please consider the following: imagine that as soon as you enter the dining establishment, it feels like there are about 1,000 eyes looking in your direction.

Who needs a flare gun to attract attention to themselves? Not me. Try pulling into the parking lot with a van the size of a bus. This is a pretty good indication to everyone that there is a person with a disability here to eat.

Next, imagine that getting into the restaurant is an adventure in itself. The door is automatic, right on. However, the door opens the wrong way and bangs you in the foot (what a great appetizer).

Inside, there are a lot of people and not much room to walk around the restaurant, never mind that you have to try and move around the dining establishment with four wheels attached to you. Slowly and methodically, you weave your way through the crowd, like a corn maze.  

As you make your way to the table, there’s a person’s chair in your path way. Thankfully, the person notices you and you carefully make it past their chair. Getting to the table is a great feeling but it doesn’t last long because the server starts asking your companion for your order and completely ignores you.  

With a stern clearing of the throat, you correct the problem and the server realizes their mistake. As you take a sip of your drink, eyes are pointed in your direction. (Yes, I am 29 and use a straw. I might blow an air bubble by mistake, but I have to quench my thirst.) The food comes and must be cut up and fed to you. 

Despite these obstacles, I still love going out to restaurants, and you should too. No matter how loud the cough, how many chairs you bump, or how many hands it takes to feed you, it’s time to lean over, take a sip of your drink and enjoy your meal.

So the next time the dilemma of going out to eat or not comes up, go out! Enjoy your meal to its fullest and show people that even though we may have trouble raising our glass, we’ll raise our heads high.  

About the author:

Alex Lytwyn is a 29-year-old male from Winnipegosis, Manitoba who uses a wheelchair due to the disability of Cerebral Palsy. Alex attended college and received his diploma in Business  Administration. Along with doing fundraising for various organizations, Alex sits on several community boards. He is a published writer who has written two books. 

About the Author

Did this blog inspire you? Would you like to learn more about how you can get involved with our work?

Click here to find out more.