Issues with Accessibility

Not long ago, a friend of mine was killed in a terrible motorcycle accident. I had known Randy for nearly twenty years.  He and his wife were wonderful people – fun loving and a joy to be around.  It is always a difficult time saying “goodbye”, as well as trying to comfort a grieving family.

To switch gears for just a minute, one would assume that with the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this summer, access and design of modern buildings would be accessible to all.  But, alas, that is not the case.

As we entered the funeral home, the ramp was a little rough and difficult to negotiate, but we made it.  The line was long with a myriad of people waiting to get in.  My wife & I greeted Randy’s wife and two sons, exchanged a few words, and shed some tears.

As the crowd moved along, I peered through the window toward the casket and then glanced from side to side.  Getting down the center aisle would be no problem.  Getting back via the side aisles would be a completely different story.  My wheelchair just would not fit down the narrow walkways.  Was I going to wheel all the way to the front of the parlor and fight my way back through the crowd like a fish swimming upstream or just sit this one out?

Well, funerals are one of my least favorite events to attend, so I decided to take the second option.

Either way you put it, though, one would think that in this day and age, after nearly thirty years of the ADA’s existence, a place commonly used by a variety of people would be accessible to all.

In instances like this, I strongly encourage you to eagerly and politely advise the establishment of the inconvenience they have caused and ask that it be corrected sometime in the near future. 

Encourage builders and contractors not to simply build by code, but to have someone experienced in disability issues examine plans before they are finalized.  It would make it easier, less costly over time, and more convenient for all.

If you would like more information on accessibility, please write, call us at 888-503-7955, or email us at info@maysmission.org. We can gladly provide you with our brochure “Making Your Community More Accessible”  for free. Thank you for supporting people with disabilities and please share your experiences in the comments section.

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