When we got to the van that was parked beside us, I asked Joe for a pen to write down the name that had been branded on the door. Inside was a woman who I asked if she was waiting for a couple of people in the theatre. She was. I felt sure I had found the right organization and was already planning the letter.
I got into the car and waited while Joe loaded the suitcase. Walking towards the van were two men with disabilities with a support worker who was patiently waiting for them. I looked again. The van wasn't a wheelchair van. I asked the woman in the van if she was waiting for people who were wheelchair users, she was not. Then I looked at her again.
I had seen her.
She had been with a fellow in the same movie.
About midway through the movie, when it was getting really good, she had left with the man she supported. I thought that maybe he was going to the washroom, but he hadn't come back. She and he had waited in the van for the others. He hadn't wanted to stay so she simply followed his wishes and left.
She knew that he was going to the movies, she was not. She was supporting him at the movies, not going to the movies with him. She was there to meet his needs, not hers.
Further, he had not sat with the other two who had attended from the same organization. The two of them sat in a different place. There was no effort put into having the staff sit together surrounded by people with disabilities. They each, the two staff, sat in different places with different people. Clearly the people they supported made their own choices regarding seating.
The best of support.
The worst of support.
And how easy it is to see the difference.