I had a friend who accompanied her dad, who had MS, on overseas trips he took to present papers in toxicology, a field in which he was renowned. She commented on how some other cultures did not have a concept of equity for handicapped people. Once she and her dad got to the meetings, he was treated like a celebrity, but moving around other places in public, it was like his being there was inappropriate. There are still a lot of primitive concepts about handicaps being a family and community disgrace. Tell that to Stephen Hawking.
Definitely could have been some of that, mso, given that the young woman found others in the building in shorts and flip flops. Pretty hard to understand from my bearing how someone could be a disgrace for something like a disability, and I'm glad we make it a priority here in the U.S. to try to accommodate people who have them. Then again, maybe it wasn't always like that here, either.
My Dad had polio as a child. He walked on crutches basically his whole life. He travelled the world. In Russia, he was sent to the front of long lines, due to his crutches. They honored war veterans, and they treated him that way.