MS is No Excuse for Being Discourteous When Offered Help

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falling tips, offers of help


It was a trip, plain and simple, neither my leg giving way nor a fall. It was MS-related because it was directly caused by foot drop; the toe of my left shoe caught on the tiniest ridge at the bottom of a ramp.

My trip wasn’t dramatic, I didn’t end up on my face. In fact, I simply sat down on a small retaining wall of a flower bed, about two or three bricks high. No fuss, Lisa even told me afterward that I had managed to sit down quite gracefully.

After sitting there for about a minute, I could have stood up and continued my way inside the restaurant for our meal and, back in the U.K., that’s exactly what I would have expected to happen.

Not here in Spain, though! No sooner had I come to sit on the low wall than two young men from a group at a table on the terrace, rushed up and helped me back to my feet. But that was not enough for one of them; he was determined not to let go until I was safely seated at a table inside.

I expressed my gratitude in Spanish and he returned to his group outside.

Lisa and I enjoyed our meal, three courses plus a drink and a coffee for just 10€ each (about $10.50, or £8.50), which is nothing to complain about.

Eventually it was time to leave and, as we came out of the door, the same young man who helped me earlier again sprung out of his chair to escort me back to our car. This time, I had not tripped or fallen; he just wanted to help.

We exchanged a few words in Spanish (not too many as I am still learning the language, but enough to guide him to the correct car, make him understand that I needed to go the driver’s side and then to, once again, thank him for all his help).

Like many people who have MS or any other disability, I am keen to be independent. However, not so fiercely that I would be rude or cause offense to anyone offering help. Even those times when I do decline an offer, I always do so in a friendly way and make sure that it is obvious that the offer was appreciated.

You must have come across people who are discourteous when offered assistance, which they reject with a terse “I’ll be all right,” “I can do it,” or worse, “Leave me alone.” These people are doing no service to themselves or the wider community of people living with disabilities.

Yes, I have multiple sclerosis and, yes, I have a disability that sometimes necessitates using a wheelchair. But the disease does not have me, nor has my desire for independence robbed me of basic common courtesy.


[You are invited to visit my personal MS, Health & Disability website at].

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, Bionews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Ruben Genera avatar

Ruben Genera

I have ms .that was s really good story I could relate to.their is alot of good people out there who are willing to help , I learned its ok to get help.

Debi avatar


Good article Ian, So true to always be courteous, people just want to help.

Amy avatar


Excellent post. People offering to help have the best of intentions. There's enough anger and hate in this world. By being courteous, we add to the kindness in the world instead of adding to the anger. If I don't need the help offered, I make sure to smile and thank them for being willing to help.

Regina Alice Schroeder avatar

Regina Alice Schroeder

I love it that people in Manhattan rush to help. But always ASK before you touch someone. I use walking sticks, because my legs are weak. When someone tries to help me up, they often grab my arms, which I need to get myself up. A well intentioned grab meant to help me up results in a real mess. I am often struck a little speechless by the fall, and have a hard time explaining myself, and controlling the people who have rushed to help me. ASK how you can help. Love to all helpers, everywhere, every how.

Daniel avatar


Hello all, my name is Danny, was diagnosed this past May, I am not young, and not to old, born in 74, so I have been around a bit..... Appreciate help, when needed, but not always needed, thank the lord, still getting use to the fact, that I am no longer, in my 20s, or even 30s for that matter!! Luckally my wife, and two daughters, look after me, without them, don't know where I'd be? This has been a stressful roller coaster..... Off topic,sorry

Laura avatar


It is nice to know there is still good in the world! I have PPMS and mm y sons always there for me.


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