Another Example of Why We Need Power Chair Accessible Bathrooms

Recently, I was out at a restaurant having a few drinks. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible and all on one level, but it was located in an older building. After my third drink, I elevated my Quantum Rehab Wheelchair to go to the bathroom. There were two bathrooms side by side: one for men and one for women. Both were single-use bathrooms. I opened up the door to the men’s bathroom and the first word out of my mouth was: “Oh boy, this is going to be tight.” While the doorway was wide enough for me to fit my wheelchair through, there was not enough clearance to pull my power chair all the way and close the door. So, half the restaurant would see me going to the bathroom.

Getting Help from the Staff

Josh in his power chair, spending time with friends

One of the staff members saw that I was having a hard time navigating the bathroom and came over and asked if I needed assistance. I’m the kind of person that does not like to ask anybody for help, but I understood in this situation, I was going to need it. The other option was to pay for my drinks, drive home to use the bathroom and return to the restaurant to pick up my food. Maybe that is what other people in my situation would have done, but it seemed so unfair to have to cut my night short.

I told the waiter that I needed him to stand by the door and block the view of the bathroom. So, the waiter signaled to the bartender and they both stood in front of the door to prevent people from seeing me use the bathroom. Although the situation was slightly embarrassing for me, having a disability and using a power chair means that situations like these come up all the time.  it’s how you adapt that makes you the person you are.

Enjoying My Night with My Power Chair

Both the waiter and the bartender kept apologizing to me for the inconvenience. Instead of letting the inconvenience get to me, I thanked them for their help. Their treatment of me really showed how much character they had. This isn’t always the case, as non-disabled people can often be rude to those of us who use power chairs, simply because they do not understand what it is like to live with a disability. In the end, wheelchair accessibility is about more than independence. It’s about wheelchair users having dignity and being treated with respect.

About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.

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