We were just leaving the 'Abilities Expo' pushing up by a number of vendors. We'd had a really good time. Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed something wonderful happening. There were many vendors with vans made accessible and things to make van's accessible, Joe and I didn't spend any time there because we have no hope of ever affording something like that. But as we passed a van that had a passenger seat that lifted out and a long arm brought it out and down to the ground. We saw a young girl of about ten, with a grin that made the Cheshire Cat look depressed. Before the seat it the ground, she had already taken off her safety belt and made herself ready to transfer.
Her parents stood to the side watching. Mom had that I'm happy, I'm proud and I love you look in her eyes. Dad, embarrassed kept pushing his tears aside. The little girl didn't take her eyes off the goal. She transferred with help from her father, into the passenger seat and then was lifted up. Seconds later she was sitting in the front seat of the van.
For a moment her joyful sounds told everyone that she was happy, deeply and profoundly happy. We were by the area now but as we approached the door we could hear her again as she was being transferred out. She was having a blast.
I had seen people with all different kinds of disability talking to vendors, meeting up with each other, everyone comfortable in their own skin. Difference was valued here in ways that it isn't 'out there.' I met and spoke with at least 10 other disabled people. We didn't have long conversations about disability and the disability experience. It was like seeing something at the same time and both saying, 'That's cool shit' at the same time.
And I found something there.
But that's a story for another day.
We had fun. We learned things. But I, felt unalone ... I got what I came for.