Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Step Right Up

I am so not kidding this happened. We checked into a hotel and before accepting the key we were ensured that the room was WHEELCHAIR accessible. So then the clerk advises us to get back in the car and drive round the side of the building and enter at a door much closer to our room. Sounded like a good plan. I haul back in. Joe hauls the chair back in and we drive around.

We get to the other side and, first there is no disability parking, second there are stairs up to the door. We drive way back round to the front and park in the parking there. Go in the flat entry there. Arrive at our accessible room just fine.

I am so not kidding this happened too. On our last trip we stayed in a hotel that did not serve breakfast. We asked for a restaurant where we could get a bite in the morning. She directed us to a restaurant that she just loves the breakfasts at. I asked if there were stairs. She stopped. Thought. Said, I think there are but once you get in you'll be fine.

We drive over, out of morbid curiousity, and realize that 'once I get it' is simply not going to happen.

Once, I'm not sure I should write about, the pattern begins with two. So what part of accessibility training did they miss when they direct a guy in a wheelchair to a staired entrance. Is there any hope for disability training if those attending think we can just pop out of our chairs, climb up a set of stairs with our wheelchairs on our backs. Um, that's not disabled.

But, even so, the room itself was welcoming. Everything I need. This morning I'm going to have a brief and friendly chat with the clerk, just reminding her that the enterance we were sent to wasn't disability friendly - even though she tried to be.

These chats can go two ways 'Oh, my Gosh I can't believe I did that.' Or, 'how was I supposed to know you can't climb chairs?' One will end nicely, the other not.

Taking bets?

20 comments:

lina said...

I'm going to think positive....and think it's going to end good! Enjoy the rest of your day.

ivanova said...

I bet for nicely. The thing I am not so sure about is whether they will tell the next guest anything different.

Kristin said...

Ummmm, I'm hoping it goes well but I won't bet on it.

April said...

I hope everything went well, but somehow I don't think the young woman will have learned her lesson.

Glee said...

You need to actually SHOW people. Drag them out to the steps (if possible) and sit in front of the steps and make them look at you and then look at the steps and say "what do you reckon???" People just have no idea and that mainly is not their fault. They have been brought up in an ableist society with not much (any) thought about us.

When I ring a place to see if it's accessible the conversation goes something like this ME is your shop wheelchair accessible? THEM Err yeah mm ME Are there any steps? THEM errr no o umm ME Can you go and look? THEM oh ok ..... er yeah there is a step ME right ok so it's not accessible then THEM it's not very big.. about 6 inches

So many times.

But the point of that is that THEY don't know until you make them look at it. We are the ones who know. We must help these poor people to learn.

Sutton said...

I agree with Glee: The able-bodied go up and down steps automatically--they don't even remember that they are there!

Also, even the most well-meaning are clueless. I work in a place that has disability parking in the back, near a ramp. . . that has a four-inch lip at the bottom!

Clue: We don't like being brought in the side entrance, the back entrance, or worse, the delivery entrance!

Clue 2: We are not freight. Please do not direct us to the freight elevator.

D. said...

People are, with difficulty, trainable.

(My mother is disabled by neuropathy, and I am getting into the habit of saying "We're coming to the ramp now." Because, paradoxically, steps are easier for her; she can't feel her feet. And my neighborhood is all hill...)

Dot said...

I guess I will bet that it might not goes as well as you hope. I can't believe people sometimes...

~ICLW

Astra said...

While the receptionist was clearly in the wrong assuming that you could manage some steps, people make mistakes and say thoughtless things because we're only human.

You made one of these mistakes yourself in this very post when you said "Um, that's not disabled". While you may not be able to get out of your chair as she suggested, some people can. Does that mean they're not disabled? It's one of the sad double standards that exist, people being considered "not disabled enough" because they're not constantly in a wheelchair. Also, some disabilities aren't visible at all, it doesn't make them any less difficult or valid.

I can think of a few recent instances where we've been denied or almost denied assistance because people don't believe my Dad is disabled. It's frustrating for him to be treated like a malingerer and upsetting for those of us who know what he's going through when people brush him aside as "not disabled".

Clay said...

Dave, you might be too nice a guy to do what I do - raise a fuss, and make them Pay for their stupid mistakes.

http://cometscorner-clay.blogspot.com/2009/09/actual-self-advocacy-post-well-not.html

Dave Hingsburger said...

An update: The feedback was well accepted, actually I had to turn it into a joke, she was going to cry she felt so silly and stupid. People make mistakes, I'm pretty sure she won't make that one again.

stb said...

I was voting for the positive and was glad to read your update!

ICLW

Nina said...

Oh, I hate that she was going to cry! It didn't sound like she meant to do that at all. I know I've made stupid mistakes like that and felt so bad afterward. I'm glad you were able to cheer her up and get the service and help you needed. As I stated before, you are clearly nicer than me!

Brad said...

I'm glad your return visit with her went well. I guess sometimes all they need is a kind guiding hand to help them see the light.

Candace said...

Im sure i will hear about the outcome tommorow..Hoping it was positive. I truly enjoyed your semanair today and I am looking forward to tommorow:)

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine how she felt! I'm glad to hear that the follow-up went so well.


On a somewhat simular (but completely different note,) I used to work at a gas station, and without thinking would occasionally ask the customer holding the motorcycle helmet if she'd/he'd like a car wash....... anyone who went to high school knows that it's completely possible to look alert while sleeping, it's called auto-pilot.

Kim said...

Ugg! I am truly amazing by the things that come out of some people's mouths!

theclam said...

My bet is that is will go well? Did it? Saying hi all the way from South Africa for ICLW :)

xxx

kitrona said...

Chiming in to agree with Astra. I have invisible disabilities; I can stand (for 15 minutes) and walk (slowly)... yet on bad days, when I have to use a scooter in stores, I get disgusted looks from people who clearly think I'm faking it.

There is no one unified "disabled", it comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and forms. Some people CAN manage a couple of steps, but have to be in a wheelchair the rest of the time (I know some people with orthostatic heart conditions who would qualify).

So, tell me... am I "not disabled"?

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