Joe has asked me, not repeatedly but regularly, if I'm gonna blog about the movie theatre. For someone who writes immediately about an incident regarding disability, to let something slide is worthy of note. I didn't write about it because I didn't know how to think about it. So, as I sat for 10 hours in a car today with nothing to do but think, I decided to just write what happened and see what you think. Here it is ... at the end there will be a quiz:
We decided to kill some time on a weekend by going to a movie. The only movie we wanted to see was playing in a theatre about 40 miles from our hotel. We had the time and the inclination so off we went. We had a wee bit of trouble finding the theatre and were glad we'd left 'being lost' time in our plans.
We got there and were surprised that the door was locked. We could see staff inside and the movie was scheduled to start in just over 15 minutes. So we made ourselves very visible and waited. Shortly a few other people came and went in through the center door which was open. As it turned out, they'd unlocked the center door and the other 8 or 9 doors were left locked. As it happened the wheelchair door was one of the ones left locked and it was outside that door that we waited. Very visibily, me in a wheelchair.
I've always been annoyed at the thoughtless planning of others. When we go to a supermarket that has an accessible checkout and they only have one aisle open and it ISN'T the accessible one, I get pissed. If you are going to open only one, open the one that EVERYONE CAN USE. It seems like a simple request. Not looking for special treatment just inclusive treatment. I felt the same way about the door. If you are going to open only one, why not open the one that EVERYONE can easily use. The center door, which we did use, was actually a bit difficult to negotiate and we had a bit of a struggle.
So, when we bought the ticket, I told the clerk about the locked door and the struggle to get in. I suggested she tell a manager about the problem and have the door unlocked right away. She stared at me with complete indifference. Now I know she's getting paid next to nothing and it's a thankless job but still, I had been nice when I could have been nasty. I knew, just knew, that she would say and do nothing.
I paused for a second and said, 'You aren't going to do anything with my request are you?' She stared at me now with hostility, 'what do you mean?' she asked. I said, 'I can see it in your face that you don't care about what I asked for and that you aren't going to do anything with my request.'
'YOU ARE SO RUDE!' she practically shouted at me, 'You don't know what I was going to do or what I was not going to do. You are a rude, rude man.'
'Well, were you going to say anything?'
'I am working here selling tickets, I can't go running off looking for a manager.'
I did note that she didn't answer my question but I just took my ticket and rolled away. She kept muttering about how rude I was.
Now, I didn't write about this because her anger at my comment took me aback and made me wonder if I had been rude. I could have sworn that her face indicated a complete dismissal of me and my request. Joe felt the same, that she had no intention of relaying my concern or request to anyone. I didn't write about this because I thought maybe I asked the wrong person to care, she only had to care about getting my ticket, she wasn't paid to care about my access - but should you have to be paid to care for another's inclusion?
1) Was I rude?
2) What should I have done instead?
What's rolling around in your head?