Friday, February 24, 2012

Several Names

Well, wasn't that quite the discussion yesterday?

I need to start with an apology. I should never have put that up for a vote. When I wrote what I wrote I was very angry. Andrea asked why I was angrier than normal in those situations. In fact, that's approximately how I always feel when we've been left without a room after hours of travel. I just wrote the blog a little closer to the epicentre of my upset. We had simply made the mistake of trusting that our organization had worked, it's been a flawless trip thus far, and I was as angry at myself as I was angry at them. Well, almost.

But then it comes to the issue of putting their name up here on the blog. When I first started writing this I determined that I wouldn't use the blog as a vehicle to attack others or attack businesses. For the most part, though I've failed sometimes, I've stuck to that as a principle here on Rolling Around in My Head. I made this decision because I know me, and I know that my motivation wouldn't be to warn others, it would simply be revenge. My way of getting back at someone. I also knew that this would make me lazy about sitting down and writing letters to management, to owners, to advertisers, to whomever needed a letter. I write a lot of letters.

So on the drive down I thought about what to do. I've decided to write the hotel, write the chain (it's a big one) and go that route. I think that has the most likelihood of success. Though, honestly, I don't know what success would be. A promise is just a promise, an apology is just an apology, how do I measure if any of that actually means change? If anyone has ideas on this, I'll take them.

Forgive me for promising something and then not following through. If anyone is going to visit Thunder Bay, let me recommend two hotels that we've stayed at. The Valhalla Inn has accessible rooms, but the toilet hangs off the wall, something that scares me - I asked for something to be placed under it to ensure it held my weight and they did that gladly. Too, the Comfort Inn has inexpensive and basic accommodation but the accessibility for me was fine (I don't need a roll in shower - these hotels may have them, I didn't ask for one.) I think mentioning these businesses may be better than flaming the one that didn't hold my reservation. It feels a bit better to reward than to punish.

On that note, the Fairfield Inn in Sault Ste. Marie, has wonderfully accessible rooms and really nice staff. When I checked in, I asked as we do, if the room was accessible and it was. Then when in the room we got a call from the front desk and the woman told me about a couple of other accessible rooms that were available and let me know how they differed from the one I was in and asked if I wanted to choose a different type of accessible room. As it happened I did, so I came down, they switched the keys, and it was done. That's service.

We get home tomorrow.

We're tired.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave,

that is a post of the gentle and thoughtful man I learned to know through your blog. :-)

But if you need to vent do so. It sparks something. And maybe by getting a little bit of support for your hurt soul helps to channel the anger and aggression caused by the hurt and makes it a little less painful.

One bad incident can eat up so much of a good day, or travel-time.

So I am still sorry that this happend to you and Joe.

Julia

Moose said...

a) I'm sorry this happened to you. But I'm kinda surprised this is the first time it has.

This has happened to me twice so far in the past 10-odd years. And, yes, I get the "I understand why you're upset." Gee, really? [Mr Fist desires to meet your face now.]


Also, wall-mounted toilets are only rated to about 250lbs. They can snap off the wall under the weight of a 180lb person swinging onto one from a wheelchair. And they do snap right off the wall.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, appreciate your apology - for I was thrown by the fury and the language used to describe your event.

As a person respected for your knowledge and a well read author - I think you need to take the scope and influence you hold in so many circles into account. It seemed like such a low after such a high of achievement.

Self control - sure, you can get angry, but what you do with the anger is a reflection of the real you. Swearing and cursing is probably not the image you want to create personally or professionally. It is rather disturbing that you always feel angry and a tad revengeful.

That will not promote your books nor your personal appearances, nor make you approachable for people in need - people, like me, who seek out others that struggle to see how they cope.

Tamara said...

I missed yesterday. Sheesh - what an awesome post that was. I disagree with the Anonymous after Moose. I think you need to just lay it out there raw sometimes. And it certainly doesn't lessen my respect for you.

I doubt that I'll be looking for a hotel in Thunder Bay ever, but I can understand those who do wanting to not patronize that hotel - but giving them good alternatives is helpful.

The "I understand" thing is annoying - disabled or not - but would be so much more than annoying in this situation. They do not understand the worry you go through to make sure you will have the simple things most of us take for granted - a bed we can get in and out of - a place to pee. It's such a condescending response - especially when it won't be followed up with a solution.

And if "the new girl" really made a mistake, that reflects more on the long-term employees than "the new girl". She obviously wasn't trained properly if she gave a room for those with disabilities to someone without a disability. So, it's clear than training about guests with disabilities is not high enough on their priority list.

I was getting a little "comfortable" following you on this trip - it seemed that the rest of the world was "getting it" - things were improving. I guess it's good to remember that we all still need to be diligent.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Anon, I made a couple of changes to the blog after reading your comment. I wrote today's blog last night, really tired. I didn't clarify that the anger I 'always' felt referred to the feelings after being denied a room when it had been booked. Being suddenly stranded without a place to stay leaves me feeling really vulnerable. We can't just go to another hotel we have to find another accessible room, those are different things. I panic. I try, in this blog, to accurately reflect what I experience as a disabled person ... and I'm sorry, but anger is simply part of the mix. I am human. I get angry. I swear sometimes. I cope by venting - here and elsewhere. I created this blog for me to have a place to have an honest dialogue about disability. I can't come off as who I'm not. I am not always a placid soul. I do not believe that feeling the full range of human emotions is a low. I appreciate your comment as it made me think and that's always good, furthermore it allowed me to reread this morning what I'd written and realized I wasn't clear. No, I'm not always angry, but I am sometimes. No, I don't always feel revengeful, but I do sometimes. So, thanks for the opportunity to clarify. (It was always my hope that being honestly human would make my voice more authentic and my flaws make me more, not less, approachable.)

Andrea S. said...

I disagree with the anonymous who comes after Moose. Dave is human, sometimes he gets angry, as do all of us. When he shows his anger here once in a while, it reminds me that I, too, am only human when I lose my cool too. Which doesn't mean that either he or I stop trying to maintain calm, it just means I try not to beat myself up about it if I slip, and I assume the same for Dave.

I also agree with Dave that showing human flaws makes him more approachable, not less so. I think this is particularly important in his capacity as a person who is working to stop abuse and improve the way "staff" treat the clients they work with day in and day out. They need to know that Dave isn't perfect either and still manages to maintain a standard of behavior for how he interacts with others ... so when he tells them there are certain things you just don't do with clients ever, they can realize that he isn't asking for any superhuman behavior from them: you can be flawed and imperfect and, yes, angry sometimes and still do this.

coffeetalk said...

Very admirable, Dave. You never disappoint. Hope you can rest soon.

joanne said...

Glad you're off the road! The Comfort Inn in Timmins does have a roll in shower...although I can't recall when I went to look at the room if the toilet hangs off the wall...thanks for that detail, I'll keep it in mind next time. have a great day/weekend!

Anonymous said...

As influential and well-known as Dave is, he is 'allowed' to have any feelings he wants, people. And because this is his blog, he can express them exactly as he chooses.

I'd rather see occasional flashes of 'pissed-off Dave' than not. I'm positive even Ghandi ripped someone a new one once in a while, because they richly deserved it.

Everyone needs to vent now and then, and holding others to impossible standards does no one any favors, least of all yourself. Dave has never claimed to be perfect, nor does he pretend to be. It is delusional to think that ANYONE (Dave included) must be in complete control of their emotions at all times so as to project the perfect image.

Gah!

Sue

janet said...

I hope anon noticed that Dave apologised for not naming the hotel not for expressing anger. I, for one, come here because I expect to read about a real life not a contrived one.

CT said...

I'msosory you and Joe had to deal with this, Dave. It was really an unconscionable situation.

Ceeej said...

Almost commented on yesterday's blog, but realized all I felt had been said.

I appreciated yesterday's blog because this is "real." Cleaning up the language wouldn't have expressed what you experienced.

I'd suggest considering including a copy of your blog with your letters - not as a threat - include today's too - but as an honest depiction of what you experienced. And yesterday's blog (before the cleanse probably moreso) certainly tells the tale more than the politely angry letter you'll write (or have already written).

This happens far too often and it is clear to me that the hotels do not understand what they are doing. Yes, sometimes it's $s when the hotel is booked, but even that is inexcusable when reserved by credit card - so the hotel charges your card for a no show (which you weren't) AND rents the room. Maybe an attorney general somewhere ought to look into that practice. But I digress. Hotels do not understand that the disabled can't use a non-accessible room. Can't frigging use it. How hard is that to understand? Clearly, harder than we think.

Dave, I have faith that this hotel chain will understand when you're done with them, but you have to find the right person, high up...

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I do not get openly angry very often, but if I do my friends know that something is seriously wrong.

My guess is that this was such a situation - especially after reading that Joe was even more angry.

For my part: I am glad that you are human too. :-)

Julia

Anonymous said...

I too was surprised at the post with the F words. It was like Dave didn't read his own books - you know, dealing with "mean people", coping, etc. ("the are word") You would think he would have more tools in his toolbelt for dealing with such situations. Yes, it is good to be human and yes, it was a big reason to be upset - but retreating to a blog - which has a business connection sidebar is a bit passive-aggressive.

I note you have a loyal following and am happy for you having support - but egging you on in negative behaviour is very immature and pushes attitudes that you seem to not want to have, shown by having some descretion in naming names, your reflection, openess and apology.

I know it will not make any difference to you or the "happy gang" that bays at your heels - but I for one will no longer roll along with you. Happy trails!

Susan said...

Stay the course, Dave. Just smile, and stay the course...

"The happy gang". I like it! We should get T-shirts made. And coffee cups.

But shouldn't it be "baying at your wheels"?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymus,

I am very sorry that the realisation, that Dave acts sometimes angry too, triggers and hurts you so much!

He seems even more approachabel to me, sometimes showing this personality-trade.

Noone can always - really always - react along everything, he or she is teaching. Unless...it is a computer.

Feelings like the one shown by you now are not unknown to me. I am almost always expected to react thoughtful, kind and understanding. And yes, if I am not, my friends are worried and scared. But in some situations I have to follow my inner feelings and have to speak up. For myself or for others. If I always remain polite, one day my body and soul (and those of other people) will get trampeld over by less thoughtful and more outcome orientated people.

Julia

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is necessary to speak up and not remain silent. It is necessary to do something. The Hotel clerk did not react right and they (Dave and Joe) had everything done to make clear why they needed this room!

Julia

Dave Hingsburger said...

Anon above, go after me if you will, but your comments about the readers here is unfair - any regular visitor will know that readers often take me on, disagree with me, ask me to rethink situations. I've never once removed a critical comment, even if I disagree with them. I don't have a 'happy gang' and the fact that you stereotype a whole group of readers worries me about you - well you've been honest with me. I get it, you didn't like the post and now you don't like me. Fine. That is your choice, don't attack others because they don't agree with you. I hope that you have as high standards for yourself as you do for me - like, maybe, not being a person to attack someone anonymously, I don't know if it's passive aggresive but it, for certain, is cowardly.

Anonymous said...

Don't be discouraged Dave. Just rejoice at the wide range of folks you meet. Indeed your scope is wide. Be yourself - not everyone may warm up to ya - but that is the way it is - blog or not. Keep doing what you do best - educating others.