In order to get to one part of the hotel from another they have one of those elevators made specifically for people with disability. They always look so functional, so out of place, so 'we did this because we had to'. Inwardly I groaned. Most often they don't work, when they do they are slow and sound like the gears were made to grind loudly. I've been stuck in them part way up, partway down, I've had trouble figuring out how the doors work. Do you push up once, or do you hold it - it's a crap shoot. But. They had one.
We didn't need it til morning when we were going for breakfast and Joe had already scoped out that the conference was up in that area too. As we were going across the vast lobby I asked Joe to pop over to the desk to see if there was a key and get whatever info he needed about us using the lift. I got to the lift about time that Joe got to the desk so I turned around to watch.
I could tell by the set of Joe's shoulders that the desk clerk had pissed him off, then too there was the lack of his trademark laugh. He turned to walk back to me and I saw the clerk look over at another staff and shake his head and roll his eyes. What happened, I wondered.
"What was that about?" I asked.
"He was really sarcastic, I asked him about the elevator and he said, slowly like I was stupid, 'You open the door, you push the button.'"
I told Joe about the clerk then rolling his eyes and could see anger simmer in his eyes. We 'opened the door and pushed the button' and the elevator screamed it's way up. When it stopped Joe was waiting and pulled at the door to open it. It didn't open. I went down again, came back up. It didn't open.
"You're going to have to ..."
"I know," he barked.
A few seconds later the maintenance man was sent for. But in the clerk decided to come over and take a look for himself. He grasped hold of the door handle pulled it down and then out. It opened. "You have to pull it down first." We both just stared at him and he left.
He coulda told Joe that when he went over. But instead he chose to be miserable and treat us as if we were simple minded. Couldn't he have guessed that we were asking because we've used a lot of these an they have more personality than many people we know?
We've said it before and likely will say it again.
It's not the disability ... it's the attitude - that's the barrier.