“Let’s Play Show and Tell”
April 17, 2012
I’m permanently in a wheelchair. When I book a hotel room, I ask my usual one hundred questions before I book a room to be sure it is accessible enough to meet my needs.
Though I am always assured that I will get what I asked for, the truth of the matter is I never get a completely handicapped accessible room. There are ADA standards that are supposed to be followed, but these basically address the spacing requirements. More often than not, the everyday decorative or necessary devices—such as lamp switches, bed height, or thermostats–are frequently overlooked.
This is troublesome, especially if I am travelling alone. What do you do to remedy the situation? Over the years I’ve learned something important: The way you approach somebody about a problem often will result in how (or if) that problem will be resolved. I know this is common sense thing, but it is true.
Earlier this year I booked a handicapped room at a hotel after I asked my one hundred questions about the room. Is there a roll-in shower; is the toilet seat raised…? One of the things I specifically asked about was the height of the bed. I know high beds are fashionable these days, but for someone in a wheelchair, this is a problem. I was assured that the bed was a normal height.
When I checked into my room, you guessed it. The bed was very high, and since I was travelling alone, there was no way I was going to be able to get in and out of it myself.
I called the front desk and asked for a manager to please come to my room, who came immediately with an assistant. I nicely demonstrated my dilemma, and asked them to take out the six or eight-inch frame and lower the bed. They did it, and made some other arrangements to the room that I needed such as rearranging furniture/other things so they were within my reach (lamps, phones…) I graciously thanked the manager and she graciously thanked me for being so nice about it, adding that many people are so rude and quick to complain or threaten.
Sure, I could have accused them about ADA standards but what good would it have done at the moment? I got what I wanted, plus three days of exceptional service that followed for anything I needed. Realistically, if I complained to an agency later, nothing would have ever have been done about it.
In the past I have attempted to discuss handicapped accessible room needs to higher level hotel management but needless to say, my single voice got me nowhere.
So, I recently made two videos evaluating two hotel rooms that I stayed in. Here are the links on YouTube: http://youtu.be/kAj4PoZ8MnQ and http://youtu.be/qRQlXXklYnw
Would you review these videos and give me your feedback on them? What do you agree/disagree with; what would you add, or delete?
Strength in being heard intensifies with numbers, and with more voices, maybe this time around someone will listen.