Tuesday, May 01, 2012


I am in a room.

A hotel room.


There is a sign on the wall. One I've never seen before. It's gold. With black letters. It has a message for me. "Staff will relocate furniture upon request." When I saw it I was a bit shocked. I travel a lot. I stay in a lot of hotels. Accessibility is what they say it is. What they've got they've got. The implication is that as far as they are concerned, they've adapted to me us, now I we need to adapt to them. The idea of people with disabilities being different, or having different needs, isn't taken into the equation.

But that sign.

One I've never seen before.

Says something different. It says, 'Hey, we're willing to adapt to YOU.'

Here I am in a room with a king bed with room enough to roll around the bed in my wheelchair. Rolling through the door into the room is easy because the door is wide enough and, the transition from floor to floor between hall and room is completely flat - a rarity. The bathroom has a tall toilet with bars and a roll in shower. Underneath the beside tables are small motion sensor lights that make it so that you don't have to turn a light on to be able to see the pathway to the bathroom. The curtains open and close on an electric switch so you don't have to push and pull and get curtains caught in chair wheels.

And they've got a sign. Offering to move the furniture if you need it.

There's a chair, a low one, with the kind of legs designed to fit well into Elephant Feet - in fact, it's in them now, so I have a comfortable chair to transfer into. The bed is fitted into a headboard that has a natural place for me to put my hand when I need extra lift to get up from sleep. My wheelchair has a place to sleep at night without being folded up. It can sit at the desk and wait for me. There's room enough to have it accessible all the time.

And they got a sign. Offering to move the furniture if you need it.

I think the sign is the thing. I've always said that the greatest barrier is attitude. It's easier ramp a curb than it is to ramp an attitude. I think the moment they hired someone to design this room, who started, or ended, with that sign, maximum accessibility was inevitable. When someone has the desire for accessibility to be a real experience for a real person ... they move from 'this is what we got' to 'let us adapt for your needs.'

What I want on this day, Blogging Against Disablism Day is to live in a world where there is a sign, "We will welcome all, equally."

I don't think I'll ever see that sign posted. But I'll be looking and hoping to see signs that the sign is tacked up in the most important coffee room of all, the one in the far corner of people's consciousness.


Anonymous said...

Wow - what a great impression words like that can make. Whether you called them to move furniture or not - just knowing they are for it would make all the difference. Wow! Encouraging.

Maija Haavisto said...

Usually I try to post thoughtful comments to blogs, instead of just saying "great post", but I think this time you already said everything, so I'll just say: Great post!

Belinda said...

"We will welcome all equally:" I want that sign in my head and my heart; and I want to see it growing in my grandchildren's heads and hearts.

Andrea S. said...

Good to see your contribution to BADD, Dave.

My own contribution to this year's BADD is here: Why Fight Disablism? A Global Perspective: Blogging against Disablism Day 2012. In this, I provide links to various reports on the international situation of people with disabilities around the world that reflect different aspects of the potential effects of disablism.

Jen said...

That sounds like accessibility heaven :)

Never That Easy said...

Amazing - words do matter. (And I'd come stay at that hotel, for sure)

wendy said...

What a great sign! That hotel needs a big banner outside that says "We think outside the little blue box"!

aftergadget said...

Beautiful post. A ray of sunshine in an otherwise emotionally overcast day for me.

Now I am very curious -- where is this hotel? (What country and state/province?) I can't travel, I'd just like to know.

Penny L. Richards said...

Did you take a photo of the sign? I'm not joking--it can help to post photos of good practices, and it's a nice break from the gotcha photos of bad practices. Not everyone notices the good stuff like you do!

On the BADD tour...

Ruth Madison said...

"It's easier ramp a curb than it is to ramp an attitude."

So true!

Brooke, Cessna, Aspen, Canyon & Rogue said...

Great post :)

GirlWithTheCane said...

If you feel comfortable giving the name of the hotel, let's profile it on my blog's "Accessibility Best and Worst" page as one of the "Best"...it sounds like it deserves some kudos. :)

Anonymous said...

If I ever see one of those signs, I will let you know. I will also call up whoever posted it and tell them just much it means to me and all my comrades.