Grateful for the Americans with Disabilities Act

I went to the store today and got the things I attempted to get yesterday. It wasn’t an easy day because my pain levels rose so fast that I was in big trouble. I stopped and tried to go through the steps to help myself not panic. When your pain level rises panic can take over then everything is a mess. Three times I cried in that store and three times I got myself together.

I was discouraged but I kept talking myself down so as not to panic and lose it. When I was ready to check out I went to the line that said 15 items or less. I told the lady I knew I was over by about 10 items but that I really needed to check out and go home. She saw the vest and the new arm brace. I tried to dress it up, ya know. I wore a long scarf around my neck and a knitted beret with the same colors. I wanted to look better than I felt. Anyway, she said I got in the right lane because she understands. She talked about her battle with Fibromyalgia. She told me that sometimes it hurts when the wind blows. I shook my head yes. She added, and my hair hurts, too. I looked at her and shook my head yes. I was still attempting to get myself together, swallow the last bit of emotion that might slip out as tears. Then I added. I cut my hair because it hurts to touch my back.

I thanked her for letting me get in that line and get out of that store so I could get home. She was wonderful for not making any fuss at all over me getting in that line. There have been a few times when I’ve had to explain that going through the shorter line was allowed by The Americans with Disabilities Act because its a reasonable accommodation. After just a few sentences of explaining they let me through and I went home.

One never thinks of such things as the need for elevators or doors that auto open until they absolutely must have them. I remember getting stuck at the top of the stairs at the health food store once. The stair case was long and I was in so much pain that I had to take them one at a time. It seemed like forever getting down them. The building isn’t required to have an elevator because of the grandfather law. They were built within a certain time frame so no adjustments are legally required. I never thought just how much assistance is available to me because I didn’t need it. Now that I do, I’m grateful that many understand special needs and those who do not have a law to guide them in a helpful direction.

The tiny little adjustments may seem tedious to some but I appreciate larger lanes for wheelchairs, lower shelves and islands so people in wheelchairs and independently shop in their stores. I appreciate elevators and doors that open and credit card readers that tilt down. I appreciate the swing out table on some registers that will allow a person in a wheelchair to write or put their wallet as they pay. Small adjustments that aren’t noticed by some make all the difference for many. I appreciate this law and the positive results I’ve seen.


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