Monday, May 02, 2016


Image description: The sun as the head on the 'wheelchair' symbol with the wheel turned into a clock showing the time 10:55
We are staying at a hotel directly across from a small mall that has a lovely movie theatre attached to it. When we got up we checked movie times and decided to go see Keanu, a comedy about crime and cats, which was playing at 10:55 AM. We love going to movies early, so we got ourselves ready and strolled over eagerly anticipating the day ahead of us.

We entered the theatre at a side door, I like the theatre and all but am always a little annoyed when the disabled access doors are not the same doors that everyone else goes through. But, at least they had the push button and the doors open wonderfully wide, so, thought I won't be grateful, I'm at least glad. We ride the elevator up and approach the doors that go into the cinema itself. Pushing the button, we find nothing happens. Perhaps we are a bit early, so Joe tries the doors and they are indeed open. He pushes the button on the other side of the door, we've discovered that sometimes one is broken and the other one not. It doesn't work either.

It's not hard to figure out what's going on. We learned from a store we shop in regularly back home that the accessible buttons have to be turned on. We've also learned that people often forget, when they are unlocking the doors for everyone else, to turn on the accessible door pushers. In fact, Joe knows where, in the store back home, the turn on switch is so now, instead of seeking someone to do it, he just does it himself. So, we figure, the buttons have been forgotten and need turning on.

I make this my duty, other disabled people will be coming, and the doors are heavy, I'll make sure the buttons are turned on. I would not be able to get through those doors without Joe's help when the buttons are off or down. I tell the guy selling us tickets but he's sullen to the point of hostility, and refuses to listen to my request. That's OK, he's young, he's not happy to be there, at that age I've been him. I seek out another person to tell.

When I tell her that the buttons have not been turned on she says the weirdest thing, "Yes, it's probably because it's still early."


I said, "But I'm here. Doesn't that prove that disabled people come to movies at the same time as everyone else?"

She looked like I'd attacked her, I hadn't yelled, I was still in chat mode, then I recognized the tactic, turning me into a hostile, bitter, out of control, cripple. I said, then, softly, "If you could just ask that they be turned on because they are big doors and difficult to manage on your own."

She brightens, "I'll do that for you."

|Now it's a favour she is granting.


When we leave the theatre, the buttons are working and all is right with the world.

For the rest of the day whenever one of us said, 'I wonder why' or Why do you think' the other responded, 'because it's still early.'

The things they say to us.

The things they say.


Frank_V said...

First, when is it ever okay to be sullen, because you have a JOB? That theater employee should be thankful to have ANY job, especially with an attitude like that.

And clearly, it was much too early to keep up with an AWESOME guy like you David!

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Unfortunately, and as always, you need to talk to someone a lot higher up.

Accessibility just isn't - if ANY of the pieces are missing.

I would think people in a wheelchair would want to get somewhere early, because it takes a bit of extra time, there aren't as many seat choices, and they have experience with just the kind of garbage you're talking about: if you'd gotten there late, then they would blame you for not allowing enough extra time.

You can't win. But the battle is important.

Maybe a one-page sheet you can give out, with the common problems listed and a box you can check off? With 'other' and a space to write something? The Accessibility Report Card? So you don't have to do all that explaining. Of course, it would be seen as hostile by many people. Sigh.