"You Poor Thing"


I’m very frustrated from coming back home from the airport.
I’m a paraplegic, while in baggage claim, a lady saw me roll around to her and look for my bag at the carousel. As I got my bag, she said to me "aw…you poor thing, God help you."
I was furious and vented to my mom and dad on the way to our parking spot. ARGH!:mad:

Am I out of line?



I’m sure she just meant well, in her own way.
Often we say things that are inappropriate though well meaning.
I, for instance, have a difficult time knowing what to say to a person whose loved one just died.
‘Sorry’ doesn’t do it but the subject can’t be ignored either.



How rude!! However, we can only assume that she meant well, in her own clumsy way.

I was totally embarrassed by my grandmother one time when we were sitting in the airport waiting for someone - a beautiful family, that was of a different race from us, was crossing over with their six children, passing close to where we were, and my grandmother said, right out loud, “Awww, looka the cute little &#%!” - I just about died. :o

Luckily for us, the parents had a sense of humour - they thought it was funny. (Also, I was holding my head in my hands, shaking my head.)


Hi Scotty:

Sometimes we all make insensitive remarks or do things without realizing the effect. I’m sure that she probably didn’t even realize that her “pity” remarks were insensitive and could be demoralizing.


Yes. Usually it’s just pure ignorance.
**I’ve heard the same thing when out with my 8 kids.:rolleyes: **
They just have a “glass half empty” attitude about life in general. Which is really much sadder than you or I. How sad to be presented with blessings or miracles and be blind to them.


As a woman with dwarfism - I have heard my share of “you poor thing” comments. I smile and say something like “God blesses me every day.” and go on about my business.



Please don’t be upset. As someone with cerebral palsy I run into the same kind of thing from time to time. You know they certainly do not mean any harm. Please pray that they are blessed with the wisdom on how to react in the future if they should encounter it again.

God Bless,



Often, people mistake pity for compassion/love. And I think we are all guilty of this to some degree.

** The above advice is wonderful. Not only does it give you the chance to pray for someone, it also takes the place of the anger you are prone to feel in a situation like you described.**

God Bless you in your daily joys and challenges!



I can see why this would be annoying, but I would have enough insight to know that the woman meant well, and really wanted God to help you. I would be angry if someone had poked fun at my condition, instead.


No kidding! We all know there are many people out there who set out to be rude and mean. Doesn’t sound like that was the case this time.

Oh, on another note, as a person with a “hidden” disabilty, I often get angry for the opposite reason…I don’t think people show enough pity towards me, lol. Just kidding, I don’t want pity. Although pity would be a whole lot better than what I get most of the time!



No, you are not out of line. The woman was out of line. She was condescending and rude.

You have every reason to be furious. But don’t dwell on it, since that would make this your problem instead of hers. Do allow yourself to be furious just to get it out of your system, then move on.


I am totally with you 100%! I’m legally blind and my mom is totally blind and we get all kinds of pity. not too long ago, I was shopping in the grocery store that I work at and I had my big rolling back pack to put all my groceries in. the cashier (an aquaintance) was like, “You walking today? where’s your hubby?” I told her he was at work and the customer behind me in line was like, “Why are you walking.” I told her about my eye condition and promptly got my least favorite response, “Oh deer! but for the grace of God go I!” I REALLY get irked when people say that to me. I have plenty of grace, thank you very much. I just smile and say, “I’ve got a great life and wouldn’t change a thing.” and leave it at that. or I tell them how my visual problem was what caused me to meet my hubby and my mom’s is what caused her to meet dad. I try and turn it into a positive thing. that usually works pretty well if the conversation allows for that kind of information.


How rude! You do have to pray for her, you know. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”


My mom was just like “oh god” when my grandmother saw a woman with dwarfism and was like “oh, the poor thing.” She didn’t say it loud enough for the woman to hear it, but especially when women are older and losing their censorship, they make comments like that. It is very ignorant and rude, but I do believe it is meant well.


As a diminutive person, too, (4’ 8") I get stared at, pointed at by children, patted on the head, told jokes about height and hear comments that I’m supposed to appreciate, etc., etc., etc. I used to get peeved, but I’ve learned at age 58 that most people are 1) nervous around those who are a bit different and so don’t know what to say or do, 2) trying to “relate” by what they say, 3) just plain ignorant of what it is like to be on the receiving end of such treatment.

So, I smile at the children and at the jokes and comments. I haven’t been patted on the head in years because I carry myself with an air of self-sufficiency that generally keeps people’s hands to themselves. And I pray for those who are so insecure that they cannot understand how another feels to be treated as an object of “fun,” pity, or as a curiosity.


That’s just lovely! What a wonderful way to say that! :slight_smile:



Maybe she meant “You poor thing” because your baggage ended up in Sioux City instead of St. Louis. :wink:

The remark was probably more out of ignorance than rudeness. Perhaps she just hasn’t been exposed to people with different abilities. Sometimes you just gotta let it roll off your back.


I so like that answer! It is much better than anything I would use, such as “Mind your own business” or “Is there a lot of hot air up there where you are?”. My elder granddaughter gets a lot of unwarranted sympathy because she is being raised by Grandma- and she enjoys it, is starting to use it to try to manipulate. I was looking for a way to remind her of what she DOES have (I am not that old, and it is not as if she is being raised by a dolt or Scrooge). So I will now remind her that God has blessed her and is blessing her every day- and THAT is what she should tell people who pity her.:slight_smile:


I never quite understand why total strangers feel it’s acceptable to comment on others’ physical characteristics. DH is 6’9" and it seems like we can’t go anywhere without people asking him or I how tall he is. Now, I don’t mind when people are nice about it, like the little old ladies who ask and then say “my son’s 6’8” and you made me think of him." That’s sweet. It’s the rest of them that drive me nuts. I guess that’s just the way people are, they’ll point out that a person’s in a wheelchair, has lots of kids, is short, is tall.


And waht’s also frustrating is dealing with my mom. She tends to think of it as “trivial” …I get into arguments with her all the time about how upset I get about no ramps, elevators, etc. In fact when someone parked in the “middle area” of 2 handicap parking spots, mom said they must be in a hurry.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.