Dealing with Other People

I commute into work everyday and usually sit in the accessibility seats because they’re easiest for me to access, but the other day an older women asked me to get out so she could sit down because she was old. I didn’t want to argue with her but I thought it was rude she just assumed I was fine because I’m younger than her. Standing for long periods of time is really difficult for me and I’m always afraid of falling because the train is moving. Does anyone have any strategies for dealing with situations like this?

I just say point blank, no not moving I have MS. old does not equal disabled, but around here at least they think it does. the amount of dirty looks I get until I say I have MS and need the seat, after I say that, most people just shut up. shouldnt have to tell people why you need the seat, and you dont have to but sometimes saying you have MS does get people to go away

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Get taxis to work and home, see Access to Work: get support if you have a disability or health condition: What Access to Work is - GOV.UK

I was in a shop in Manchester and I was shattered and having a sit down in the shoe department of a department store. A woman came over and said she was unable to reach a shoe in her size off a high shelf and asked if I could. I duly smiled and tried to help whilst she had me on tip toes trying to reach half a dozen shoes from the back. After five minutes I finally admitted defeat and said I don’t think there is one in a five,sorry (my arms were killing me and just couldn’t reach any more!). She just tutted as if it was somehow my fault and turned on her heel and left without so much as a thank you! I was left flabbergasted and knackered. People just assume you are more able than them because you ‘look ok’ I suppose!

That said, years ago I approached a lovely young man in a supermarket and asked if if he could please help me get a television down off the shelf and over to the checkout. Imagine my mortification when I looked at him properly and realised that he had no arms! He was politeness itself and tannoyed someone to help me. I just wanted to run off and die but he stayed and chatted with me happily until his colleague arrived. He still works there and still smiles when he sees me!


Hi there,

Maybe you could, as others have mentioned get yourself a walking stick of some sort. That would help you with your balance and maybe even give you a bit more confidence too.

There’s also a little assistance/help card that you can get from the MS Society (free of charge I think) that’s credit card size that would fit in your purse or pocket and you could show it in a situation like this or similar.

I have come to the conclusion that whether people can see or not see your disability that it sometimes just comes down to ignorance and rudeness on their part.

Stay strong.

Twinkle Toes x

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Hi Rena

I think I’m closer to Faulas answer than many of the others.

Getting a walking aid of any kind before you think you need it seems a bit of an overreaction.

You should be able to get a seat with or without such a visible sign of disability. When / if someone asks you to move, I’d be more tempted to say politely, ‘I’m sorry but I can’t stand, I have MS and my legs might give way’. Or ‘no, I have a disability’.

Having a stick or other walking aid is of course more likely to get you sat down if all the seats are taken. But even then it’s not guaranteed, some people are just rude and ignore visible needs. Or themselves might have a hidden disability, or be pregnant, or simply utterly knackered.

Or take up wearing a t-shirt (all the time!) that shouts out ‘I Have MS!’

Having a card that sits in your wallet/purse/pocket is as useful as just saying, ‘I have MS’. In my opinion.



Hi Rena

I hate it but use a stick when I’m out on my own, I have been offered seats on trains but also blanked by people seating under the sign to give up your seat for elderly, pregnant, with sticks etc! I have that card, came very useful in Paris, its in different languages, you don’t have to say anything it explains. Its a double edge sword, looking good but feeling crap!

Mel x

exactly! you should be able to get a seat without any sign of being disabled. not everything problem is visible. either be polite and say no, sorry I have a disability and need to sit here, or be a little more loud about it if the person keeps pushing. no one should have to prove they are disabled. if all the seats are taken, I try to sit as close to the front as I can, but never tell people to move their butts. thankfully most people do see me stumbling and help or move if they are able to.

Well, yes. However, I think it is a matter of what a person most wants to achieve in that moment. Maybe she wants to be right and carry her point and is prepared to tough it out if necessary. Maybe she just wants to secure a sodding seat with minimum fuss so that she has enough energy left to do a day’s work at the journey’s end.

No rights and wrongs, it seems to me, just the right thing for a particular person at a particular moment.


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There is respect both ways here isn’t there?

Yes an elderly person has asked if someone would vacate their seat in order for them to sit down.

It was the done thing in my day you just did it as you were taught to respect elders and pregnant ladies etc.

I cant see a problem myself to actually saying politely “oh I feel awful honestly but i have MS and its simply not safe for me to stand as I might fall as I have poor balance” i am so sorry. Looking around at others as surely there will be people sitting who are not all old…

Its a difficult one but can be managed without seemingly being offensive. I would certainly get an assistance card. so many people do not respect others now sadly.

This person was old so therefore could have been suffering with heart problems or osteoporosis so its a double edged sword isn’t it? My mum was 93 she could stand but had heart failure. she didnt look as though she had heart failure.


For me it is important to be polite and not " the chippy crip" I have the benefit of knowing that not all disabilities are visible but not everyone does, so I try to cut a bit of slack to help with the education process.



My misses does have some visible disability and uses a crutch,theres no public transport of much use round here so don’t have these issues in that respect but last week in Lidl an old lady who must have been well into her eighties insisted we go in front of her at tills so my wife(46) didn’t have to stand for too long. It was very nice of her but i could see from my wife’s face she was shocked and a little upset/embarrassed about it although she was polite and thankful to the lovely lady concerned.

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your post made me smile! i am lucky to be obviously disabled-powerchair and the speech difficulties (amongst many others but am thinking re obvious!)

you just never know how humans are going to react-fascinating! i find most things are easier with a smile on yer coupon-whether its real or fake.



‘A smile on yer coupon’, I love that Ellie