I went to a local bar last night. It was on the second floor, but luckily it had a lift inside. You entered through their little convenience store downstairs, went all the way to the back of it and there it was, right next to the bathroom. I'm not going to lie- it took a while, for them to get it running. You could tell this is not something they deal with every day. Apparently they have been using it as a storage area for trash and storing empty cardboard boxes. "For something we don't use a lot it takes a lot of room"- the man explained. And I could understand his point to a degree. He is a business owner. The space is a valuable commodity and an elevator nobody uses kind of gets in the way. He didn't mind it was there. And he didn't mind getting it to work to take me upstairs. But my arrival did cause quite a commotion. So much so, that I felt a bit obliged to stay a while and at least buy a drink. As I waited a bit for them to take a lot of the trash out of it and some other random items that I guess had no proper place inside I started thinking how low on the priority list of a business owner, any business owner wheelchair access really is. Don't get me wrong, they were very eager to get it running for me. But more and more trash came out of it and I waited and waited. Waiting you get used to. I wait for the bus, for a ride, for the rain to stop, to be securely hooked and unhooked. And patience is one of the things you learn. As long as I get where I need to go I don't really mind a little inconvenience especially when you see that people want to help you. That they really want you to participate in whatever it is they have set up. I know things happen. But then they couldn't find the key to operate it. I have no idea what was going on upstairs as I only heard voices, they were looking for it. They were trying to look inside. They were trying to reach into the shaft, get some light in there. They were looking around with their cellphones, they were trying to find a spare. Then they decided to retrace their steps and look again. A lot of work just to get me up there and clearly they were not ready for me as I walked in. Things take longer when you are in a wheelchair and a situation like that is not uncommon. I waited and waited. I was thinking about going home as they couldn't find the key, because I started to feel a bit stuck. And still I didn't mind. I did however stay and ended up going up there. "We use it at most four times a year" he explained and I pondered why that is. Don't other people in wheelchairs go out and socialize? Maybe it would be a good idea to reach out to the disability community and get the money's worth out of that elevator so it doesn't double as a trash shoot. We are wheelchair friendly, we are inclusive, you are welcome here. Maybe with a bit more information people with disabilities would be more likely to get out of their houses and do more things. I know I haven't been out there because I didn't know they have a working elevator in the first place. The last time I checked they were still waiting on some replacement part to arrive. But perhaps accessibility can be something more than some dreaded laws mandate. Maybe it can be something you build a positive campaign for your business from. And create a buzz that the media can pick up. With a simple message. We care about community and people of all needs! What a novel idea.
Hi Ralph. I stumbled over you on Twitter while looking for other information. You had linked to http://schmokel.com/Florida-Accessibility-Code-vs-ADAAG-vs-FAC.htm.ReplyDelete
Thought I would say hello before I begin leaving comments all over your blog, leaving you wondering, "WHO the heck is this person?"
I am enjoying reading thus far. Thanks!
Thank you. Welcome to my life.Delete
I love this idea. Start a buzz.ReplyDelete