They say that the civility of a society is determined by its attitude to its defenseless members: children, the elderly, women, disabled people.

     Recently, my friend went on a business trip to Europe, and before the trip, as luck would have it, he broke his little finger on his leg. Who have not broken their little finger on the leg of the table or the edge of the sofa? Nevertheless, they apply a splint on it and put a bandage around half of his leg. From the outside, it looked like it was put in a cast.  They gave him a cane too.

     So my friend came to Almaty airport for registration on the European airline. He was asked there if he would like to use the wheelchair. The friend hesitated and said: “Why not?”. After all, he was actually limping. They brought a wheelchair, seated him on it … and at that moment his trip drastically changed. The airline employee drove him around the airport and everywhere was standing behind the chair ready to help. Moreover, at the exit from the plane at the airport in Amsterdam another employee of the airlines was already waiting for him with the similar wheelchair. He put my friend in it and pushed him around the airport. On the way, they stopped at a duty-free shop, went to a cafe. At the same time, the employee took care of my friend and helped in everything. When they found out that it is necessary to go a lot farther, to the other end of the airport, the employee called his colleague on an electric car through a portable radio set. Together they put my friend in an electric car and went with him to the gate. At the entrance to the gate, an employee drove my friend on a wheelchair past the queue to the very entrance of the plane. In addition to the above the queue near the gate respectfully parted and let the “disabled” pass with reverence.

     Unusual experience of my friend continued in the city of residence –Barcelona. No matter where he went, people before him parted, let him pass queue, held the door in front of him and so on, with a polite smile and sincere concern.

     The apogee of such respectful attitude to my friend in that trip can be considered a scene in one of the Barcelona restaurants. He was sitting at a table with friends, and at a nearby table the company of drunken young guys were too loud. My friend made a remark to them and a quarrel began. Finally, my friend got fed up, and he decided to get up and come closer to the boys. When he got up with the help of a cane and approached their table, they saw the “cast” on his leg, their mood drastically changed. They immediately began to apologize and offered to become friends.

     That’s how my friend spent his business trip week in honor and respect. 

     And then he returned to Alma-Ata. He got off the plane and went to the border control point. Europeans standing in line, habitually for him let him pass queue, but then there stood our Kazakhstanis. They immediately got my friend to the earth: “Where do you think you are going? What’s wrong with you, you broke your little finger? And you are a disabled person! Nothing will happen, if you wait in line a little, it won’t kill you!”

     This is where my friend’s euphoria ended. He was quickly reminded of the society he was in.

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