Feb 18, 2012

28 WHEN WHEELCHAIR ACCESS BECOMES INACCESSIBLE.

wheelchairAs an able body person I try not to take my mobility for granted. Every day I am thankful for every step I take and able to make on my own unassisted, I say thank you everyday to the Divine master. I was reminded today of the importance of always staying humble and appreciative by an incident that mirrored one I witnessed last year.

Last year I observed an incident that left me feeling sick to my stomach. I was waiting for my bus in the subway; it was more than 45 minutes late. Like me most of the people waiting for the same bus were irritated.  Among the passengers was a woman wheelchair bound, she sat quietly and waited patiently. She was already there when I arrived so it’s reasonable to think she was there more than the 45 minutes. The bus arrived 7:38pm. The door opened and we all waited to the side for the driver to lower the ramp for the woman to board. He tried however, it did not work, he looked apologetically at the woman and said, “I am sorry but the ramp is not working, you will have to wait for the next bus.” I thought to myself, “Oh God, she has been waiting so long already.” As the bus pulled out I looked at her sitting there with the saddest look on her face, that look made me feel sick, it made me think…putting myself in the position and feeling hollow.

Yesterday I witnessed the same thing unfold in the very same way, the only difference was the woman was angry and very vocal about it. She raved at the broken down buses and waiting endlessly only to have those ramps not work. Interwoven in all her raving was hurt and humiliation and I thought, “God there has to be a better way to ensure these buses equipped specifically to include people in wheelchairs work consistently. There has to be better alternatives than sitting for hours in hopes that a bus with a working ramp shows up.” 

I was left feeling miserable, a drop in the bucket of emotional hurts in comparison the woman who is actually living the experience. Every time I see an out of service elevator I think of people in wheelchairs who depend on the lifts to aid in their mobility so they can live their lives and I am struck by the same questions invading my mind, “what are they suppose to do when the very things built to aid in their mobility hinders it, taking weeks even months to fix, how will they get down/up to the subway so they can get on the train to there appointments or homes?” Its just madness you know, how the simplest of things can represent the trial and tribulation one has to face in life.

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