An unidentified couple has come under fire for initiating a confrontation with disabled cyclist Tom Morris in Bloomington, Indiana, on September 8. The man berated Morris for using adaptive motorized equipment in a park without realizing that he couldn’t walk. This entire exchange was captured on video by Morris and he took to his Facebook page to share it. He did so to raise awareness and urge his followers to encourage others to be kind towards people with special needs.
“2020 has been quite a challenge for all of us but remember no matter what, be KIND to each other,” wrote Morris in the caption of the video shared on his page. “‘Seriously dude, you’re not supposed to have e-bikes on this thing’,” the male cyclist is heard telling Morris. The latter responses to the man saying that it was “a handicapped piece of equipment” and the man insensitively responded with, “and?”.
He then goes ahead to further reprimand Morris saying, “‘Show me the rules saying that you’re allowed to do this.'” He didn’t stop there and went on to accuse Morris saying, “Come on buddy, you’re breaking the rules of the park.”
Morris interrupted the man’s rant by explaining that “it’s a handicapped piece of equipment and I can’t walk.” That is when the man backed off and walked away while the woman accompanying him told Morris that he “should have led with that”. Morris drove past them calling them out on this behavior saying it was a real class act for them to treat him like they did but they visibly showed no remorse. They continued discussing the matter as Morris went further down the trail.
Morris shared another video of him explaining further why he decided to post the video. He said he waited a whole day before putting this incident on his social media. The moment he decided to finally post it came after he saw a wheelchair-bound child with a spinal problem on his page and a thought crossed his mind. Morris immediately started to think about what it would be like if this boy had to face what happened with him the previous day.
“That video was never meant to cause harm or ill-will to those two people. I have nothing but love and kindness for them. This is not a revenge thing,” he said. Morris also thanked people for all the support he had been receiving but at the same time addressing all the hate comments and the messages that were being posted about those two people.
“What that man and woman’s comments… they weren’t very nice, but some of the stuff that’s being written in those messages are challenging,” Morris said in the video. “The message is kindness. As we move forward, man, I would just appreciate if we could just look at people with a bit more empathy, and try and get out there to make this place better,” he concluded.
In another update posted by Morris on his page on September 10, he said that Indiana’s former Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Terry Coleman contacted him after hearing his ordeal. Morris was assured by Coleman that his adaptive equipment is allowed on all trails throughout all of Indiana. Coleman also told Morris that the state had purchased around 12 “off-roading wheelchairs” that give access to people who do have disabilities, according to Daily Mail.