It happens to me when I use my cane and it pisses me off! I'm sick and tired of hearing how people just want to help when the truth is that they've assumed that I'm incompetent. Why else would they want to help?
What these people don't know and probably don't care, is that someone using a white cane has been trained to safely navigate the streets. We are trained in various methods to safely cross the street at any type of intersection, walk on sidewalks and get around safely even in places we've never been.
So, when some do-gooder who has assumed that the white cane signifies helplessness tries, without our permission, to act on their ableist assumption and so-called "help" us, they're actually putting us in danger and taking away our independence.
For me, the white cane presents a safety issue, which is why I stopped using one many, many years ago.
I've never been hurt because I didn't use the cane, but used to get mugged all the time when I did. Sometimes people would grab my cane. Often, I got unwanted and unneeded help.
Now, at school, I have to use one.
After the third time during orientation and mobility training of someone putting their hands on me without my permission, I went absolutely ballistic on them!
Because of that, I refuse to use the cane outside of school, even though I'm rapidly losing the rest of tiny bit of eyesight I have left.
At mobility training at school, if I see someone's shadow or sense their presence behind me, I'll tell them that I don't need their help and please cross the street first. I make sure that I say this as firmly as possible, because the last person who touched me without permission startled and frightened me and was less than a snap away from being hit. No, I'm not violent, but I do have PTSD and it was NOT a pretty scene!
Now, I'm not recommending that people who need a white cane not use one. I'm just relating my experience. I get along better without the cane. I don't have to deal with people assuming that I'm helpless and incompetent and using me to make themselves feel good that they "helped" someone.
So, if you see someone with a white cane, assume that the person knows what they're doing and mind your own business. If that person needs help, trust me, they know how to ask!