LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Why is there no compassion?

I felt that I should write a letter to the Odessa American “Letters to the Editor” and address an issue I experienced recently at the Regal Theatre here in Odessa.
Let me begin by saying that I am a disabled person. I have had three total knee replacements, three back surgeries and a total shoulder replacement surgery. Now that being said, my physician has seen to it that I have a permanent handicapped sticker on my vehicle. It is clearly visible on my vehicle tags.
I walked into the Regal Theatre with a small amount of assistance from a friend of mine, helping me up over the curbs and such. She stood in line at the popcorn line and I went to be seated. When I arrived into the theater the handicapped seats were filled by fully capable young (about 28-33-years- old) adults and their four very young (ranging from about 2-7-years-old) children. There are only a total of seven handicapped seats for the whole theater. I proceeded to ask the individuals if they were aware that they were sitting in handicapped seats, to which they replied yes and then asked me 20 questions as to my disability. Just because you don’t see a wheelchair does not mean the person is not disabled. I am 58 years old and have a disease. I have fallen numerous times, even after my second knee replacement surgery and had to have it redone, hence the three knee surgeries. I have a deathly fear of falling. I certainly can’t walk down flights of stairs, much less up them.
I then simply said, I am not going to stand here and play 20 questions with you, I’m going to get the manager. To the theater’s credit, they did tell this family that they needed to find other seats. Only after there was a conversation in which this young lady called me rude and ignorant and said I needed to just walk down a few steps and take a seat. Never a moment of compassion for another’s weaknesses or respect as to my age. I am old enough to be her mother or even her grandmother.
I am simply appalled that I, as a mature adult, was given the third degree by a young adult. I’m sure she would have thrown a fit if someone had spoken to her mother or grandmother the way she spoke to me, so disrespectful and uncaring for another (older adult) person’s circumstances. In my day, my teeth would have been rattled for even the slightest disrespect towards my elders. Now it’s just so commonplace that we don’t even notice it or pay attention to it. Not to mention the example she is setting for her own young children.
As my friend and I went to leave the theater when the movie was over, we saw this same young lady and her whole family standing and talking to management about how they were treated so badly. Really? Just because the person doesn’t sit in a wheelchair does not mean that they are not disabled. Also, handicapped seats should be for handicapped people, not “oh if there’s no one sitting there they can use those seats.” Older adults won’t bother going to get the manager. They just take the chance and sit elsewhere. One thing is it’s too much of an ordeal to walk all the way back and forth to get the manager in the first place. I know that older individuals reading this right now know exactly how I feel and have experienced the same things.
Now I know that this does not apply to all younger adults, just the ones that have had no home schooling as my deceased mother would say. In closing, please remember that just because you don’t see a wheelchair does not mean the person is not disabled. Have some respect for your elders. You will be one soon enough.