The movie started. Once the woman next to me was finished with being helped to eat. The support worker with her jumped up and went over and sat with the staff at the other end of the row. Left alone, the woman soon began very low sounds. These sounds over a 5 or 10 minute period became louder and louder. Eventually they were loud enough for her staff to come back to her and sit with her for a few minutes. She quietened down immediately. After three or four minutes of quiet, the staff ran back to her seat beside her co-worker and then, shortly, the low sounds began again. This went on through the entire movie.
I was not bothered by the sounds the woman was making. I was, however, bothered to distraction by the behaviour of her staff. The pattern was so clear. Sitting alone ... low noises becoming louder. Sitting with someone ... no noise at all. Alone -noise. Not alone - quiet. I don't know this woman, I don't know what her disability is or what kind of support needs she has. But I do know that her sounds meant, 'Please sit with me, I don't like being alone here.' It was as clear as any communication I have ever seen from even speaking people.
I had already had a confrontation with the coworker for pulling her phone out, letting it's bright light shine throughout the theatre. I asked her to put her phone away. In fact I asked several times for her to put her phone away. Finally she turned the phone to me, showing me only bright light, and said, "It's not a phone! Now watch the movie.!!" She still saw me as a person with a disability whom she had a natural right to order around. I said, again, "Turn off your phone!" She did. I was aware that this interchange had interrupted the movie for others. I didn't, now, want to start a fight with the other staff for using abandonment as a staffing approach.
On the way out I saw the staff who ran back and forth between the seat beside the woman who wanted company and her co worker. I spoke to her. I asked which agency she worked for. When I told her, in answer to her question, that I wanted to report terrible support for people with disabilities. She started to speak about her co-worker, who was in the bathroom with the person she was with, and that she was just trying to help me find a seat.
She looked shocked when I told her that the person I wanted to report was her. I told her that she abandoned a woman who clearly wanted her to sit with her. I told her that she was not paid to go to the movie with the co-worker but to be with and provide support for the woman she supported. "Didn't you hear her call out for you, over and over again?" She became flustered and started to answer using nonsense words.
I realized that we were blocking the pathway and people couldn't get in or out of the theatre. I left. Joe rushed forward saying, "Maybe we'll see a wheelchair van in the parking lot with the name of the organization one it."
There it was.
Parked next to us.