Whew. As you can see, lots of pet peeves here. Anyway, I guess the take away message is "If you see someone in a wheelchair, or someone pushing a wheelchair, ask how you can help, don't just lurch forward or start grabbing stuff!"
If you will allow me to amend this slightly.
If you see anyone with a visible disability, ask them if they need help, don't just move in to try and help them.
As I was told once by a friend who is blind, "I got there on my own. Why do all these people think I can't get back home on my own?" after a somewhat unsettling incident where someone tried to grab her guide dog when she was boarding public transit to return home after work.
I think this is a good point to remember. The person in the wheelchair might look as if they are struggling with the door. But they got themselves to the door--and they got themselves out of their house and to the building that has the door that they are currently struggling with. Chances are, they know how to open doors and go through them. It's probably something their physical or occupational therapist spent some time teaching them.
So did the person with crutches who is waiting for the traffic light. And the person with the guide dog waiting at the elevator.
If a person with a disability needs help, they will ask. If you aren't sure they are aware you are there, it's fine to ask if they need help.
When you see a person with a disability out and about, don't think about how hard it must be for them. Think instead of the hours and hours of therapy and/or training they have done in order to be as independent as possible. Grant them the dignity of using that independence.
Sorry to go off-topic. This is just a hot button issue with me.
Please return to your regularly scheduled thread topic.