Monday, September 10, 2007

Room 19

What do they think is going to happen when we get there? We don't trust smaller hotels anymore and call and check several times that our room is accessible. We even explain what we mean by accessible - having one hotel thinking that accessible meant that we could get into the room. So, after a couple of friendly chats, after checking out their website, we were confident.

But last night we arrived at a small hotel and Joe went in to check in. I could tell by the look on his face that it didn't look good. He got in the car and said, "Well, lets take a look." He had the key for Room 19 in his hand. He started the car and we drove round the side of the hotel and then down a steep driveway with a little roundabout at the end. There was no where to really park. Pulling over to the side and ensureing the emergency brake was well on, Joe got out to check the room.

He stepped down the steps to the walkway and then at the room, unlocked it and stepped up into it. He came back and said, "Besides not being able to get to it, you won't be able to poo in it either." Apparently they had a very low toilet that was made accessible by putting a bar somewhere near it.

We drove back up to the office and went in. The woman seemed a little offended that we didn't like the room. It wasn't a case of not liking, it was a case of not being able to get to it, get into it, use it when we were in it. So she took Joe off to see another room. This one was worse still, but she stood and explained how Joe could wheel me over the lawn, which was so damp that his foot sank into the earth, then he could heave the chair up inot the room. It was on the topic of the bathroom that she finally gave and admitted that "We really don't have those kind of rooms."

Now we are stuck in a small town, with no where to stay, it's Sunday so we can't call the agency who booked me to speak for advice. So we drove a long way back to a town where there was a chain hotel who luckily had one accessible room left. But that means we've got to drive a long distance to do the training each day but, of course, we're willing.

Besides being lied to about their rooms, what was disturbing was that we were being treated as a 'problem' and a 'bother' when they booked the room to a wheelchair user. It was like they 'wink wink' knew that wheelers could really walk and climb stairs if they just wanted to. "Come on, we won't tell.'

It is these times that I find my disability disabling. Times when we have to drive miles away to get a place where I can get around. But, I keep having to remind myself. It's about Room 19. It's about being disabled by the environment, not the chair. If Room 19 had been what was promised, I'd not be feeling even the slightest bit disabled.

Damn Room 19.

And damn those who lied about Room 19.

Because, here I am, in room 251 and suddenly my disability doesn't matter any more.


Casdok said...

You are absolutly right, it is society and the environment that disables people.
I hope because of your experience that Room 19 will now be properly adapted?!!
.....You never know!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

If you ever find yourself in a small town named Trinidad in Colorado (about two hours south of Colorado Springs), stay away from Trail's End Motel. When my partner and I tried to stay there two years ago, they flatly refused to find some way to provide me with the vibrating alarm clock, or strobe light fire alarm, or TTY that I requested. And flatly refused to investigate options and flatly refused to listen when we offered to send information on the ADA (which we did anyway) or when we pointed out tax credit options or the idea of borrowing equipment from better-equipped hotels (which has sometimes been done). And swore at us and hung up on us. Twice, in two separate phone conversations with them. We remained exquisitely polite throughout.

Unfortunately I never did report it to the Department of Justice (you have to report ADA violations within 180 days) and I should have because this case was so glaringly blatant. But at least they didn't surprise us upon arrival with a room that wasn't accessible.

Unlike the hospital there which had swore via email that they would find a way to get a sign language interpreter for me for my partner's pre-surgery consultation meeting and only popped the surprise that they hadn't gotten one after all as I arrived at the hospital. The doctor was nice and we worked it out, but it was extremely upsetting to think things were okay and suddenly find they weren't. If they had at least warned me further in advance then I could have suggested far superior communication alternatives to lipreading, such as putting a fast typist in the room with a laptop to do a live transcription of the conversation on the fly. But because they failed to communicate with me, it was too late for me to suggest those alternatives.

If you ever need hotel accommodations in Trinidad, try Best Western. They seem to be the only place in town that is truly accessible. We ended up at some other hotel (that didn't have the accommodations either but at least they were more apologetic about it instead of behaving as if we were the unreasonable party for actually wanting to be in a hotel with facilities I could USE) ... that was because we don't drive and needed to be walking distance from everything and Best Western wasn't. But if you drive then you won't even notice the distance.

Jeff said...

Guys I am so sorry to hear about all this frustration. But I am glad you found a place to stay. The interesting thing is it has given me an idea....more on that later..


Kei said...

Sorry you & Joe had to find another place after the place with Room 19 lied to you.

Hopefully they will either make a truly accessible room soon (though with her attitude I doubt it), or they will stop advertising it as one.

Anonymous said...

I think the thing is, that most people don't have any understanding of what REAL Accessability is. I'm not sure I would, if I didn't work with 3 adults in wheelchairs.

Susan said...

I would sleep in the ditch before I would ever stay at The Red Pine in Alliston, Ontario, too. They treated my elderly, disabled father and his wife abominably there a few years ago and I wouldn't give them another nickel of my money no matter how desperate I was. Stevenson Farms, on the other hand, is a very nice bed and breakfast just north of town, on the road that leads to Base Borden. It has a lovely accessible room (that is accessible!) and a warm, welcoming, service oriented attitude that goes with it. Not to mention a great breakfast.