Other than moving around in a wheelchair I am entirely and utterly normal. Why is that such a difficult concept for some in service to get? Occasionally when I have issues with my wheelchair, or health check up due my diabetes, I deal with people who seem incredibly frustrated that I have to check a calander to set appointments with them. Of course I have to check a calander I don't spend my life simply sitting around 'being' disabled or 'having' diabetes. I spend my life spending my life. I'm sorry if we have to spend five or six minutes jumping around from date to date to find somewhere where you are able to give me service and I am able to receive service. Sheesh.
Well, the expectation of 'less than normal' caused us a major problem yesterday. We had booked a Wheeltrans van to pick us up at the airport after being away for over a week. Now we'd booked for 2 people to be picked up at the airport. You'd figure, wouldn't you, if you were picking up two people at the airport that they might just have luggage, right? Well, the van pulled up, exactly on time, the driver got out and I rolled towards the van. Joe began moving the luggage over. The van driver asked if that was our luggage. I said, that it was. We had one largish piece each, two carryons and my wheelchair bag. That's 2 suitcases less than the airline allows us to travel with, by the way.
He said, 'I don't have room for luggage, I'm picking up 3 others.' I said, 'You expected to pick two people up at the airport with no luggage?' He told me that it was Wheeltrans policy that disabled people not have luggage (a fact that I'm going to be writing them about today). We ended up almost shouting at each other, he literally took his ride sheet and shoved it in my face asking about those other people. In that moment I didn't give a shit about those other people. I am disabled but I am normal, I have luggage, I don't carry clothing in my cheeks. He knows I'm angry and I'm afraid I look mighty when I'm angry.
After he makes a phone call, standing several feet away so I can't hear him bitching about me, he returns and says that he will take us directly home. I get in the van, he reaches to help me and I refuse, Joe helps me on and off. I don't want his help, if I had any option I would have rather refused the ride altogether. We all ride in uncomfortable and angry silence for the 45 mintues it takes to get home. When we get home I inform him that I'll be discussing this with Wheeltrans proper and he apologizes if I didn't understand. I told him that I understood just fine.
WTF. What a way to be welcomed home from a trip. Now there will be anxiety any time I use the service to go to the airport. Because I always travel with luggage, that's just wacky me - wanting to take clothing with me.
People with disabilities live normal lives.
People with disabilities have normal commitments.
People with disabilities shouldn't have to apologize to those who work with people with disabilities for HAVING FREAKING LUGGAGE.