I mean, really, deeply, WOW!
After doing a brief bit of research on the web looking for hotels in a city I've not been to before, I found a couple possibilities. I wrote down their phone numbers preferring, as a disabled guest, to actually speak to someone about accessible options. I usually stay with a hotel chain that has a very solid process for booking accessible rooms but they didn't have a hotel within driving distance of where we were going. I took a breath and picked up the phone.
All was going well. Dates and time of arrival were done and then I asked if they had any accessible rooms available for the days I'd be there. The woman on the phone asked, "What kind of accessible room does he need?" I corrected her, kindly, "Oh, I'm making this reservation for myself, I am a wheelchair user." She filled the word "Oh" with so much meaning it almost tipped over.
Then, she started speaking more slowly to me. Up till then we'd been talking at a brisk pace. Up till then she'd assumed, I don't know why, that someone without a disability was making a reservation for someone with a disability. With accurate information everything shifted in her head, and with that shift came a new and different manner. She spoke more slowly. She double checked my answers. She said, "Are you sure you've checked those dates on your calender?" At one point she wanted to know whose credit card I was going to use to book the room. When I said, "I'll be using my own." She said, "Oh" again as if her voice was full of helium.
When it was all done, and I'm sure it took much longer than it would have if Joe had been making it for me, as he sometimes does. My disability changed me from just a voice on a phone line to an image in her head. In her mind people with disabilities have things done for them, need things explained several times, make simple mistakes about things like dates and DON'T have a credit card.
Did I kick up a fuss? No. I need a hotel room. This was my preferred hotel to stay in. I'll talk to the manager on check out, for now, I need a room not a battle.
But ... really ... WOW.
That's how deep it goes ... prejudices and preconceptions of people with disabilities. Just knowing that a faceless voice rides on wheels is enough to elicit discriminatory practise.
And beyond Wow ... shit!