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Vegas: a few cripple notes

Dear Las Vegas Strip and casinos:

You are overall a very impressively accessible place, especially now that you aren't totes full of cigarette smoke. Big kudos!

Your "handy" (great phrase) cabbies are for the most part far better educated and much easier to acquire than in my home city. And major praise to the blokes working the cab rank at McCarran who took the time to educate a misinformed cabbie about who can and can't stay in a strapped-down chair and why, and who made extra sure that I was not insulted and that I was okay with using that cab despite the driver's confusion. I had awesome cabbies my whole time there.

Las Vegas restaurants and theaters will ask you if you "wish to sit in a chair" (on a good day) or if you "can walk" (on a less politically correct day). I have at last learned why. It is because almost every elderly visitor to Vegas rents a scooter or is pushed in a transport chair. These people do not want to stay in their unwieldy and uncomfortable chairs, especially if they cannot reach the table they are eating off of. (Scooters are notoriously not table friendly.) So the server is trying to figure out if you need a parking space for that monster, and if she should pull a chair out for you or not. They are, actually, trying to *accommodate* us. They're just a bit clueless about using the right words. (Especially when English is not their first language.) So I try not to take offense unless they say something particularly tacky in this situation. I can't really expect a minimum-wage restaurant greeter to know the difference between "Will madam be transferring to one of our chairs today?" and less politically correct options. She just wants to know what table to put me at.

Scootaround continues to provide great service in renting me a power wheelchair, at least in Las Vegas. Service seems to vary wildly by local franchise operator - the one in St Louis appeared to be run by a senile Luddite - but Vegas has now been a model of efficiency twice in a row.

Las Vegas, your sidewalks are appalling. If I had been staying any longer, my partner threatened to go buy a bag of concrete mix and fix the hole that's been there for over a year now. You'd think I could stroll two blocks to the Strip without having to fall into a gravel pit. And that's on the side that does have a sidewalk!

Southwest again does a good job of transporting me. The only hazard in traveling with them seems to be that, thanks to senior fares, tons of elderly wheelchair users also fly with them. So far bringing my own manual chair along ensures that I get helped before they do. (No offense to the elderly folks, but I have met too many selfish entitled-feeling wheelchair-stealing elderly folks who give me dirty looks for attempting to use "their" resources.) The staff remain decently educated and helpful on disability issues, as well as cheerful and pleasant in general.

The same cannot be said for the wheelchair pushers working McCarran, who cut me off and made the security process a lot harder to deal with. On the other hand, I was treated respectfully and professionally by the TSA (or their contractors) at McCarran this time, and did not have to file any complaints. Seems they've gotten the hang of wheelchair travelers for much the same reasons that the Strip has; they see lots of them.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
lesbido
Dec. 10th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, what I know of wheelchair pushers -- having known a guy for 3 years who spent several years as one in Virginia up until recently since he moved out of state and the economy was down -- they're one of the lowest of the low in Airport jobs. They are expected to go all over the airport to find and retrieve any missing chairs, often themselves because of the high turnover rate. A lot of employees work there -- according to this guy -- simply to prove they are working. But it could simply be that given that English is not their first language, they are uncomfortable pushing the English-only speaking passengers. Also, I gathered from his opinions that ranged from xenophobic, to ableist, to ageist, that it is very easy for them to become disgruntled due to the more entitled and rude customers. Of course he has own personal struggles with reading social cues -- he always made a point to be polite in the moment, but I think anybody in the customer service industry can tell you that approach can be very draining when you get called names like "Push boy", "four eyes", "shit for brains" and "fat ass." It would be nice if everybody in the service industry had the attitude that "I'm not going to let any of this get to me and make this the best experience each customer has ever had" but the reality is, in the end, people are just people. Good for you standing up for yourself though, as it's a part of the human condition that can be unlearned. Some easier than others.

Good to know most of your experiences have been positive though. Maybe it's just something in the water at McCarran. And I do hate that too many selfish entitled-feeling wheelchair-stealing elderly folks who give me dirty looks for attempting to use "their" resources, as I get the same from younger folks when I ride the bus and sit in front that is reserved for the elderly and people with disabilities.

But, oh I'm sorry, only visible disabilities get a slight pass -- except I've also caught some riders giving dirty looks to those wheelchair bound riders for "slowing down their ride." *eye roll* I discovered my ADhD makes it very hard for me to catch my stop when I'm not in front and able to see the side I need to get off. It might be different if the back seats were arranged like the front, but alas they are not. But because I fear those dirty looks from the elderly I always give up my seat if and when the seats are full and an elderly person gets on. The dirty looks from the younger, abled people don't bother me, except when they get impatient with the wheelchair bound riders, as it's just -- really, really? I know it comes from the same ignorance as the elderly passengers giving dirty looks, but they're elderly and they get a pass with me, I guess. For most things. I draw the line at being ripped off, but that's another issue entirely. The young, abled riders, however, if they are in such a hurry, can just get out and walk. I've found I've gotten to destinations faster doing that anyway. So, yeah, I don't really get why they blame disabled people when I'm sure it has little if any effect on other states' abilities to run a reliable transit system. Mostly because our poor transit system due to government corruption is hardly a big secret. But I guess the ignorant will always find something more "visible" to blame. *empathetic ugh*
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