DEAR ABBY: I work in a local government office as a comptroller and have many longtime friends in the office. I am disabled, Abby. I was born club-footed and with a short leg, which requires me to wear a specially molded shoe and walk with a cane. One gentleman, who is soon to marry a co-worker, asked that I be in the bridal party.
The problem: I overheard the bride-to-be talking to the office receptionist about my participation in the wedding. She said she would be embarrassed to have me "clump down the aisle, dragging that horrible shoe"! Those were her exact words. Needless to say, I am heartbroken that a fellow worker, who always seemed nice to my face, would say something so cruel behind my back. Yes, I am fully aware that I must wear this "horrible" thing to walk, but I never thought I would be talked about in such an unkind manner.
I have decided to beg off, but don't want to start a flap over this. How can I bow out gracefully? I feel I should say something in defense of disabled people everywhere, but discretion tells me to keep my hurt and anger to myself. Please advise. -- CONFUSED IN KINGSTON, N.Y.
DEAR CONFUSED: You would be doing your longtime co-worker a favor by leveling with him about overhearing his fiancee object to your participation in the wedding because of your disability. Tell him that, under the circumstances, you must decline his gracious invitation.
Knowing the truth could cause him to change his mind about marrying someone so self-centered and with so little compassion. If not, at least he'd be warned in advance.