I made it to the door. It was cold. Really cold. My fingers were stinging from having to grab cold metal to push myself along a sidewalk that was heavily salted. It had been a hard push. But I was at the door, warmth waited inside. I pushed the automatic door opener and ... it didn't work. Joe was meeting me there so I was on my own, shit. I pushed two or three more times thinking that maybe one more try will magically open the door.
Finally, someone came out and saw me and offered immediately to hold the door for me. I eagerly accepted their help and headed in throwing thank you's over my shoulder. When I was in I spoke to the manager to report that the auto door opener wasn't working and the difficulty it would cause disabled customers.
He told me, and this will stretch your WTF muscles to breaking point, that the door worked it just wasn't turned on. He showed me the flip switch that would activate the door. He told me that he'd leave it on until I had left. And then you will turn it off, I asked and he said that's exactly what he intended to do.
Why? I asked
He explained that it annoyed him and a few of the other staff that it was used primarily by non-disabled people out of sheer laziness. It was put there for disabled people.
I said that this policy had meant that I sat out in the cold unable to enter. He again said that he was sorry.and then said that he didn't have very many disabled people as customers so he didn't worry about it much.
Ok, forgive me but this is just plain stupid.
Why did he care if non-disabled people used the button, maybe they had boxes and bags, maybe they had baby strollers or were holding on to the hand of a child, maybe they just liked using it.
Seriously, who cares.
Well, he does.
I swear that when it comes to accessibility people are just plain weird about it, and who needs it, and who uses it.
When we left, he came right out to switch the auto door off.
I simply don't get it.
People like him are probably the same sort of people who create a lot of difficulty when students bring in a note from the disability office indicating they need extra time on tests or whatever other accommodation they need.
Or who pressure any walking person to use the steps rather than the elevator without regard to the possibility that some walking people cannot use steps, or have been told by their doctor to stop climbing steps for health reasons.
They need to stop worrying about the choices of people who might or might not be "lazy",
And stop gate keeping in ways that block disabled people from using the accommodations we need REGARDLESS of how many or how few they THINK we are.
I guess it didn't occur to him that maybe one reason there aren't so many disabled people coming in is precisely because some people had problems getting in and simply gave up and never came back. Oh, but maybe he already knows and just doesn't care?
Accessibility done right works for EVERYONE.
I hope you had enough energy left to complain higher up.
It's really not that hard: think.
I'd like to think this man is just not thinking his policy all the way through....to the realization that if the automatic door opener always worked, more people with disability would be free to choose to enter.
But I can't give him the benefit of the doubt - his statement is a very thinly veiled cover for his desire to NOT have anyone who is not able bodied enter his space, conflated with judging able bodied people who are 'lazy' in some way. At heart he may believe all people who are rely on assistive devices are 'lazy'. Ugly.
I have a mostly invisible disability and I although I don't look it - I need those door openers. This story drives me crazy. I just recently wrote about access issues on my blog too (8to10jellybeans.wordpress.com)
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