As some of you may know, I had surgery on both feet last month which has required me to use a wheelchair to get around which led to an interesting experience the other day while shopping in a well-known book retailer.
When I asked for some assistance finding a book, the store employee quickly directed me to where the book was located and then just as quickly, pointed to the book located on the top shelf which was clearly not in my reach and walked away. There were two other customers standing in the aisle, witness to what had just occurred. One immediately looked the other way and the other, a kind soul who offered to get the book for me.
Folks often tell me they are “afraid” to offer assistance to someone who is visibly disabled since the help may not be appreciated. In instances like this, please keep in mind that while not everyone is going to want your assistance or perhaps even appreciate the offer, common sense should always prevail; i.e., seeing someone who is in a wheelchair with both feet wrapped up on leg-rests should be a clue that the individual cannot stand.
If that was not enough, I then had trouble navigating out of the store because of an after-Christmas sale that had items piled all over the floor and did not leave enough room for the wheelchair to get by.
Did this store meet ADA guidelines? Yes, but we need to remember that compliance with those guidelines can so easily and accidently be altered by things like this, especially so in the event of an emergency.
As I say often, perspective is everything!