I’m back on my soapbox
February 20, 2013
(NOTE: This is a three-part posting.)
At about this time last year, I wrote an op/ed column that was printed in a local newspaper. (‘Trip to Jefferson County courthouse with MS an unpleasant one‘) In the column, I recounted an experience that was fraught with problems because of my inability to walk long distances or stand for long periods of time.
Well, here I go again. This time, I’ve climbed back up on my virtual soapbox to communicate with people who work in customer-service jobs. I am hopeful that the suggestions I make here will help them better serve customers with disabilities.
Part One is intended for restaurant employees who seat customers with disabilities. Part Two will address employees of big-box stores who are responsible for maintaining electric grocery carts. And Part Three will focus on hotel and motel employees who reserve “handicapped” rooms.
GOING OUT TO EAT
Even though I use a cane and sometimes walk with a pronounced limp, I have found that restaurant employees tend to seat me in or near a corner of the restaurant that is equally distant from the restaurant’s entrance and the restrooms. I do not find this practice to be acceptable.
As a result of this situation, I have learned to ask these employees to “please seat me nearby” as I am led away from the front of an establishment. When I go to a restaurant that I have not visited before, I have to remember to ask the same question. Otherwise, I may find myself seated in a back corner of the dining area, from where it is difficult to make the long trek to the restroom or back to the entrance.
While I don’t speak for others with disabilities, I know that I find it difficult at best to manage my life from day to day with even a relatively minor disability. So, if you work in a restaurant, would you please be more sensitive to the needs of these customers?