Is anybody home?

 

I would like to share an amusing anecdote with you.  Let me explain how it all started.  I recently read an article about a couple of staff reporters for a newspaper (a large one) who decided they wanted to see just how difficult it was for people in wheelchairs to access fast food establishments.  It seems to have been quite an eye opener to them. According to the article there were very few places that were accessible. I guess the assumption is that people in wheelchairs only eat healthy food.  Fat chance, we like burgers and donuts the same as anyone else.   I applaud the effort of these reporters.  Now let us see if anything comes of it.  One of the places mentioned is a large chain and their President claimed that ALL their outlets were fully accessible.  There is one of those places near me and I remember it as being inaccessible.  Actually they have a great ramp outside but the door opens onto the ramp making it impossible to enter the shop.  It seems the second door, which would allow for entrance, was always locked.  After discovering that several years ago I never went back. I was planning on writing a scathing letter to the CEO but I felt I should be absolutely sure before I did.

I went to the shop.  I went up the ramp. I tried the door.  The second door was now unlocked.  It was fully accessible.  No letter.  Ah well. I was looking forward to sampling the food.  What happened next I could not have made up.

Because I am sitting in a wheelchair I am shorter than most adults. In this shop the donuts are on shelves behind a rather high counter.  I couldn’t see the products because the counter was in the way so I asked if they had a list of the choices.  Two young women looked at me as if I had three heads (I don’t!!!) and said nothing.  I asked again, they looked at each other and told me that everything was laid out at the back for me to choose.  I must admit that at this point I became convinced I was not dealing with geniuses.  I explained that I was in a wheelchair (duh!!) and that I could not see the back wall because I was sitting down (DUH!) and could not see over the counter.  I asked again if they had a list.  At that point I asked if they knew what a list was.  I am not the most patient person I know, not even close.  At that point a young man finished with a customer and handed me a list.  He said it was not complete but that he would try to help.  Finally, the brains of the outfit. I looked at the list and made my choices.  Satisfaction.

I have to wonder if it was the chair that intimidated those two women or the fact that I asked them a question they were not prepared for.  These were not small children.  They were young, attractive women.  I do not think of myself as intimidating but then I am also not a meek, wallflower.  My strength is the result of necessity.  I will not sit and wait for someone to find a cure or to rescue me from the horrors that exist in this world.  Honey just get on with it! Places to go, people to see, toes to . . . oops!

 Nov 5 2013 025

19 thoughts on “Is anybody home?

  1. fairydisenchantment

    “At that point I asked if they knew what a list was”… Classic! I wonder how many times a day I ask myself “Is it just me?” It seems there is such a slim minority of people (of any age) who bother to actually listen, look, and think things through. The idea that “accessible means we need to have some kind of ramp to the door” is a great example on the macro level, and as for the micro/individual level, if something is said that isn’t in one of a series of memorized scripts, it simply isn’t understood. I can’t help but think of a terribly coded computer game where the character, faced with a novel instruction, just repeatedly and pathetically bumps against the wall… Thanks for another sadly hilarious, insightful post! 🙂 – Sunshine

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  2. colleensprose

    I’m sure it has something to do with kindness (lol) and manners, but it also has to do with PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS and the lack thereof. I saw so much of that with my college level students. Scarey!

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  3. writeejit

    You’re an excellent example of how to cope when life throws you a curve ball–now that’s something they should be teaching kids in high school. Love the painting, by the way.

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