Friday, January 30, 2009
It's Nick Mitola Appreciation Day
I'm crushing on Nick Mitola. You've got to love people who know what's right, who do what's right and who stand for something, and that would be our Nick. I read an article about him yesterday and can't find the link today (because I'm rushing what with being on the road). We meet Nick on ABC's What Would You Do? television programme.
I don't know the programme at all but apparently it is a hidden camera kind of show where people's actions to a (unknown to them)staged event are captured on film. In this case, ABC hired blind actors to go into a store and order something, they would pay with a $50 and the clerk would cheat them by handing them two singles saying that they were a $20 and a $10. The question was, would bystanders help.
In the set up the clerk (an actor) first begins by acting rudely. Saying 'Hey Helen Keller, step up' then making other demeaning and disphobic remarks. While there were people who intervened when the clerk cheated the actor and actress (way more intervened when the woman was cheated than when the man was cheated) no one did or said anything about the demeaning remarks, the nasty disphobic language that was used by the clerk.
Until our Nick arrives on the scene.
From the moment the clerk says something nasty, Nick tells the clerk to stop being patronizing and when that doesn't work, Nick rips him a new one. Nick didn't care that he was creating a scene, he didn't care that others in the line were staring at him, he didn't care ... he just cared that the clerk was being a jerk and he wasn't having any of it.
It was almost like Nick understood that these verbal putdowns and the clerks harsh attitude was the problem. Sure the money theft, later, was equally a problem. But in many ways the theft resulted from the attitude. The idea that blind people were a bother and taking advantage of them a rightful consequence to their daring even to enter a public place. Nick got pissed at the right time, for the right reason, at the right person. Most people with disabilities, indeed most people from any visible minority know, it starts with attitude and ends with practice.
Hurrah, Nick! For getting it. For doing something about it.
Disabled people shouldn't have to rely on knights in shining golf tees, there should be identifying features on bills so that the kindness of strangers is unnecessary, but until all that is in place ... Thank God (literally) for Nick and people like him.
So Nick, babe, I've got a crush on you, Sweetie Pie.