When do you turn the other cheek?

Society conditions us to treat the physically and mentally challenged with compassion and courtesy. Rightly so because no matter what challenges they face, they deserve to be treated as people with dignity.

We are also taught that the physically and mentally challenged need special handling as sometimes they express their pain through emotional outbursts. Again, rightly so.

But what happens when physically challenged people take seemingly undue advantage of their special status? What happens when a so-called normal person is faced with such a situation?

Do you always turn the other cheek? That’s the poser for today by ProfS.

You be the judge. Was I right or wrong?

A van ferrying a motorized wheelchair occupant parked at a public bus stop.

An argument started up between the van driver and the wheelchair confined occupant. From what I understood the argument was on whether the trip was to be paid-for or not.

The driver got onto his phone to consult with his supervisor or head office. He discontinued the call and was waiting for a call back with an answer.

All this while, the van was parked in front of the bus stop, making it difficult for people to board the waiting bus easily.

I suggested to him that he move the van a little forward so that people could board without having to navigate the space between the van and the bus.

At my suggestion, the motorized wheelchair occupant told me, “You have no authority to do that”. 

I replied, “I did not order him. I made a request.” 

Pat came the answer from the wheelchair occupant, “You are an idiot.” 

By now, my temper was frayed and without stopping to think that I was talking to a physically challenged person, I retorted, “Coming from you, that’s a compliment.” 

End of matter / interaction.

The van moved away within 15 minutes without the wheelchair occupant and I don’t know where either went. Or, how the payment dispute was resolved.

What I do know is that my entire bus journey was spent in remorse and self-flagellation over my behaviour with a physically challenged person.

Should I have turned the other cheek despite the provocation?

Author’s Note: ProfS has, in fact, presented a case study in ethical decision-making. Do think about it and let ProfS and I know what ethics are involved here and the rights and wrongs of the situation. Do also comment on what the right response should have been.

About ProfS: ProfS is a pseudonym for a friend and a guest writer on Lata Wonders. Think of it as standing for ‘profess’ and as an abbreviation for professor. His earlier posts are Meet ProfS, Flight or Fight, and Leaving Mother Nature Alone.

And oh, if you are wondering who ProfS is in reality, you will just have to keep wondering. Because he will only publish under the pseudonym of ProfS. Which is why, I have chosen the image below for his profile picture.

Smoking pipe 1 by Keith Williamson (Flickr.com CC By 2.0)
Smoking pipe 1 by Keith Williamson (Flickr.com CC By 2.0)

#ethics #EthicalDecision # EthicalConflict #CriticalThinking

Featured Cover Image Credit: Victoria Crowned Pigeon by Steve Wilson (Flickr.com CC By 2.0)


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