In a complete reversal of tone from yesterday ...
We arrived at the Marriott Baltimore Inner Harbour where we will be attending a conference over the next couple of days. Everything went smoothly, the car was parked, the registration went flawlessly and then we were being helped up to our room by the bellman. We got to the room first, came in and were immediately WOWed.
I've been called paranoid for mentioning this on my blog but Joe and I travel a lot and stay in a lot of hotels. We have noticed that, if there was a view to be had (which isn't true in a lot of hotels), the accessible room didn't have it. We have seen kitchen fans and parking lots and walls six inches away - we've even been in rooms with no windows at all. We haven't kept data but this is true over 90 percent of the time. If you don't believe me - ask Joe when I'm not around. He'll tell you the same thing. In fact, I think he was the first to notice this fact.
Back to the point, the room has an amazing and spectacular view. In fact I imagine it's one of the best in the hotel. We look right over the Constellation and have a wonderful view of the bay. Just as we were noticing this, Derrek, the bellman arrived. He chatted with us about the room and asked if we had any questions. We did. We were looking for a pharmacy and he gave us directions to one a few blocks away. I didn't have much hope that he'd know but I asked anyway, "Do you know if it's wheelchair accessible." He thought for a moment and then said, "Yes, I'm sure it is."
He gave us directions telling us that the right side of the street, heading up to the pharmacy was wheelchair accessible with cut curbs all the way and that the left side of the street wasn't accessible with a couple of spots where there was no access from sidewalk to street. I was astounded. I've never had any luck EVER with getting this information from a hotel - EVER. The best I've gotten was once someone said, "Yes, it's accessible there's only one or two steps." But this guy ... amazing.
So we headed out. And sure enough the right side was accessible and the left side wasn't. And yes, the store was completely accessible. Man. WOW.
I got back to the hotel.
I called the manager.
I wanted her to know about how incredible this experience was.
In fact I think she was mostly relieved that she wasn't calling back, prompted by my voicemail message requesting to speak to her, to a complaint.
I remember once, chatting with an older fellow with a disability in Scotland, who warned me to resist the urge to feel grateful for what should be expected ... I understand what he's saying.
But this was unexpected ... and I do feel grateful.