Today, however, as I approached the ramp to the Holiday Inn to go to the Starbucks inside, I stopped in my tracks and groaned. Not again, I thought. Not again! The ramp had been sectioned off with yellow caution tape and some guy was scraping off the paint which had become weather beaten and cracked due to our cold winter.
I explained that I wanted to go to Starbucks and there was no other way for me to get inside. Grudgingly, the tape was taken off and I was allowed to use the ramp. I had to drive over a pile of soggy paint chips; it seemed like too much trouble to clean it up for me. Sure, so what if I get paint on my wheels and then track it into Starbucks?
Despite the already bad attitude of the worker (and the manager of the hotel who had appeared) they were told by my assistant that blocking off their ramp could be seen as a fire hazard. If there was a fire on their premises, how could a person in a wheelchair who had booked a room escape the building?
Inside Starbucks, I snacked upon a double chocolate brownie and a frappucino. As I sat there, one word kept resounding in my head: Why.
Why did the hotel have to strip the paint off of the ramp in the daytime anyway? Couldn’t they simply do the work at night when people are less likely to be around? Why did the hotel keep re-painting the ramp? (This wasn’t the first time I, and other people in wheelchairs, had been thwarted from using it because another coat was being slathered on!) Why didn’t they use better quality of paint, something specifically for the outdoors? And, why did the bloody ramp need to be painted at all? I’ve never ever seen stairs being painted?
Most importantly, though, why do the Holiday Inn staff always go out of their way to make feel bad for using something that was especially put there for people like me? Why don’t they respect people like me, or indeed, the Ontario Disability Act? Don’t they want my business? And, don’t they want Starbucks to get my business either?
If you’re ever on Carlton St. in Toronto, could you please ask the management these questions? I’d love to know the answers.