The words formed in my head as I was pushing down a long hallway covered with thick plush carpet. Joe popped out of our hotel room and called out STOP IT'S NOT ACCESSIBLE. My heart sank, I yanked my chair around and headed back to the elevator and to the fight.
At the desk I spoke to a woman about the issue, she tried to find me something in the hotel but there wasn't anything available. I asked to see the manager and she disappears for several minutes. During that time I'm listening to the other clerk call hotels in the area trying to find a room and with each call he is told that the hotel is fully booked. He is unable to find a non disabled women a room, what's my luck going to be with a disabled room? I am now feeling physically sick. I can barely breathe. What are we going to do?
I had called twice on the way to the hotel to ensure that I had the room I booked. I had done everything in my power to make this problem free. My clerk is back and is telling me that I have no room. I ask, again, to see the manager, she goes to get him. I explain to him what happened. He goes to see the room we've checked into and we discover that the first clerk, from the check in, had checked us into an accessible room but had written the wrong number on the key folder and had set the keys up for the wrong room.
He sends the clerk up to check the room we are going to, Joe goes along, I speak to him a moment or two more and in that time I realize he doesn't care about what happened and what the experience did to me. Not once did he apologize for the error, not once did he ask how I was. He made the mistake that the non disabled do in situations like these, he thought that this story began with my check in to the hotel and ended with my having an accessible room. But our personal narratives as disabled and marginalized people runs much longer. This is just another in the endless stories about booking accessible rooms and not getting accessible rooms ... it doesn't matter that this ended well. It doesn't matter because for at least fifteen minutes my guts were tied tight, my breathing was ragged, my heart was pounding in my chest, and my tears just barely held in.
But he was polite.
He cleared up the error.
But he didn't care two wits about me as either a customer or as a person.
Those two things can only tell me that, at this hotel, with this kind of management, there will be no change. Disabled people don't matter here.
You may be wondering what words had been formed in my head ... I was thinking and was going to say to Joe that it was nice to be on the road again. My lengthy illness and recovery has come to the point where I can travel again. I had had a lovely day with Joe, albeit mostly driving, and I had longed during my illness to be able to be healthy and strong enough to do this again.
I'm on the road again.
Where the wheelchair will serve me well, and others, unfortunately, won't.