While I’ve witnessed a fair amount of discrimination, condescension and patronisation of wheelchair users (including myself), I really think (thought) it wasn’t the norm in my experience.
There’s a restaurant I’ve been going to for years, maybe once a month, every couple of weeks. It’s Italian. They clearly pride themselves on being good to their regulars, but I never really seemed to fit into that category.
Since I’ve started using crutches again, the following has happened:
1. The maitre d’ has introduced himself, kissed my hand, and seated me twice before other people who were waiting
2. My waiter has congratulated me on my improvement
3. My waiter has remembered what I ordered last time and recommended something new
So what does this tell us? Ignored in a wheelchair, and noticed on crutches? My charitable thought is that people are kind of embarrassed around the wheelchair and don’t really know what to do, so they don’t do anything.