So imagine my surprise when we discovered the very narrow space between the beds and the desk and dresser. Had I been in a wheelchair, I wouldn’t have been able to get through that tight spot, which led to the refrigerator. And to the microwave sitting ON TOP of the refrigerator cabinet. And to the coffeepot sitting ON TOP of the microwave. Because I can stand, I could reach the coffeepot (a good thing, or heads would roll), but if I were unable to stand, I’d have been coffee-less and eating cold oatmeal. There was also the matter of the bathroom floor, which was very slippery.
Yesterday I received an email from the hotel asking me to take a survey to rate my experience. Boy howdy! I rubbed my hands together with glee. The rest of our hotel experience was pretty pleasant, so I didn’t have to give them all negative feedback, but In the comments section, I wrote pretty much what I wrote above. Here’s the response I got:
Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience at the Lacey xxxx. I am sorry that your stay did not meet your expectations; please allow me to express my sincerest apologies.Well, I do appreciate getting a somewhat positive response so quickly. I found his comment about what different people might require of an ADA room a little odd though – true, a deaf person wouldn’t have trouble with the location of the microwave, but seriously? To have not considered how a person in a wheelchair might get around in the room seems a bit off-putting and not a genuine attempt at making the room accessible. I haven’t researched it fully yet, but I’m pretty sure that if they’re calling it an ADA Accessible room, it has to meet certain criteria.
Terri, it is extremely difficult to know or anticipate exactly what a person might require of an ADA room. A person with a hearing or speech issue would certainly have no problem with the location of our microwave or coffee maker; whereas a person in a wheel chair might. I do like your idea about "test driving" our room with a wheel chair. My mother-in-law has one...and I do believe I will bring it in and check our room layout.
Your satisfaction and continued trust in xxxx Inn are our top priorities. We look forward to showing you that we are working hard to make sure each visit meets your expectations and our high standards.
A few weeks ago, Nan and Gwenlyn and I went for a walk in my neighborhood. (And by walk I mean they walked and I scooted.) Gwenlyn gave me a hard time at first when I whipped out my notebook and made a little map of which intersections didn’t have curb cuts. But after a few blocks, she got it. When we came to an intersection without one, I had to go as much as half a block to find a driveway I could use to get into the street, then scoot up the street to the intersection or to another driveway across the way to get to the other side. “I had no idea,” she said. Well, most of us don’t until we’re faced with it.
My pals suggested I get in touch with the city to see if they have a map of intersections in my neighborhood with curb cuts. I did and they do – or at least, they graciously put this together for me.
My point being, in this long winded diatribe: I’m sure people’s intentions are good, and prior to my own experience, I was just as unaware as the next person of what it’s like to require extra space or a curb cut or coffee gear within reach (seriously, don’t mess with my coffee!). We’ve come a long way in this country toward making areas accessible to people with disabilities, but I think we can do a lot more. As an example: there are disabled parking spots in front of our neighborhood library – yea! – but no curb cuts for a wheelchair once it’s on the ground – a person would need to wheel in the street to the nearest driveway. I realize a lot of these things require money, but some of them just require common sense.
Here's an idea: a dedicated day when everyone uses a wheelchair or scooter for 8 hours. I think it would be a real eye-opener.