Sunday, September 18, 2011

Elmo, Grouchland and Me

A short blog after a long day with two kids and lots of activities.

We were going to an older movie theatre, not one of the chains. As we approached, I decided to explain to Ruby that the movie theatre, the only one playing an 'Elmo' movie, the one about his visit to 'Grouchland', was one built a long time ago and I may not be able to get into it.

She said, "Why not?"

I said, "Well, they might have stairs to get in, or the doors may be too narrow, or there may be no place for me to sit in my wheelchair."

She thought for a bit and said, "So we might not be able to go to the movie because you might not be able to get in." I nodded and wondered if she would start adding up the cost of being in relationship to a guy in a chair. Then she said, "Why did they make old buildings with stairs, didn't they know that it would mean that people who use wheelchairs wouldn't be able to get in."

I said, having a momentary attack of bitterness, "They knew but they didn't care."

We got to the theatre and, yes there was a stair up into the theatre, and several stairs from the lobby to the hall. But they had made a back door accessible with a flat entrance and a ramp installed where stairs used to be. I think Ruby was really relieved that we were able to get in, not just because she wanted to see the movie, but because she didn't want to see me hurt. I explained to her how someone had taken out the stairs and put in a ramp.

"Who did that?" she asked.

"I don't know," I said, "but I do know that it's nice to be able to get in to the building."

"Yeah but," she said, "they never should have kept you out in the first place."

And that, was that, as far as she was concerned.

Elmo learns to share, while Ruby learns the basics of social commentary.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like an award winning day!! Two great lessons rolled into a day with Ruby!!

JC said...

I never thought of people with disabilities and what they face on a daily basis until my son was born with Down syndrome almost two years ago...It was then my eyes were opened for the first time.
This post hit me because I work at a Hotel on a Resort at the Ranch I live on. It was built in the early 1900's...We do not have ramps for people in wheel chairs...I never noticed this before until one day last year while working I noticed a man in a wheel chair in the Hotel...He needed to leave and there was no way for him to get out. He sat in the hall waiting for help, for people strong enough to carry him down. My head hung in shame as I watched our cooks stop what they were doing to come assist him. I was angry, why the hell didn't we have ramps?? I was saddened at the thought that perhaps that was a humiliating experience for that man...Having to sit there and wait...
I brought the issue up to Management...After all I would say more that 90% of our customers are older people who would benefit from a ramp being there...I was told because it was an Historical building they would never put a ramp in. End of story.
The funny thing is the owner is nearing 80yrs old...I have to wonder if he ever ends up needing to be in a wheel chair how he will feel when he cant even get into his own God damn Hotel!
BTW...Love this blog!

Education: Exploring Online Learning said...

I recently have begun to think more about accessibility, not just because my daughter has Down syndrome, but because I use a big jogging stroller with her. I've realized how many places lack ramps, or wide aisles, or reasonable access. I'm glad the movie theater has a ramp now, and I'm glad Ruby got to see her movie alongside you.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Jenny, I've gone into historic buildings where they quickly install a portable ramp over stairs. It's still cumbersome, but it shows willing. I don't know why your employer wouldn't think of that, a very simple solution. Even so, I must say 'good on you' for raising the issue - many would have stayed silent fearing reprimands or reproaches from employers.

JC said...

I know, I cant help but to think how easy it would be to find a solution...I see many areas where a ramp could be put in and it would in no way take away from the buildings historicalness (not sure if that is a word, lol) It bothers me...If they put in a ramp and made things more accessible, so many more people could enjoy it! But sadly, it seems many people just don't care until something like that affects THEM directly!

Elmo party favors said...

We love Elmo so much!