my son, zach, wears leg braces. the person in front of him has leaned all the way back. this kid has nowhere to put his legs. so who is to blame? the person in front of him that has no idea he wears leg braces? the airline? should zach say something to the woman in front of him? i am sure he doesn’t want his mother to fight his battles for him and that woman has every right to lean her chair all the way back.
my questions to you are… when should people with disabilities advocate for themselves and at what point should companies, such as an airline, take responsibility that there are people whose disability aren’t always visible.
should handicap seating be available on an airplane? as a consumer you can pay more for “comfort seating”. “comfort seats” are seats with more leg room. what if all those seats are taken at the time you purchased your ticket as is what happened to us. i ask these questions because i cannot believe or understand that in the year 2017, people with disabilities are still fighting to be recognized as consumers. buses, and trains and subways all have handicap seating. why does an airplane not offer handicap seating? i actually went and asked the flight attendant this question. he basically told me “there are no handicap specific seats” he mentioned the “comfort seats” as well as the “emergency exit seats”. he then remembered that it is against the law for a person with a handicap to sit in the “emergency exit” seats. so I’m guessing that unless you pay for a first class seat or a “comfort seat” you are (excuse my language) shit out of luck. he also asked me “what do i consider to be a handicap” and “why am i asking this question?”. i was taken aback by this question. i have to explain to him what i consider to be a handicap? i must admit it made me a little angry to have to answer to him what i consider to be a handicap. is it fair to even ask that question? when you apply for a handicap sticker for your car, you must prove your handicap. i absolutely understand that. should people with disabilities have to carry around a badge or identification to prove they have a disability?
imagine this—you wear leg braces (which keep your feet at an 90 degree angle). you are on a plane and the person in front of you leans all the way back. now you cannot move your legs at all. you are sitting upright in a seat, knees bent at a 90 degree angle as well as your feet because of the leg braces. you have to sit like this for a minimum of 3 hours. how comfortable does that sound to you? try that without leg braces and let me know how you make out. as well as being uncomfortable think of how unsafe this is. how good do you think this is for your circulation? how many times have you heard of people getting blood clots in their legs because they don’t move enough on a plane? how safe is that for a person with a physical disability?
when will companies and manufacturers realize that 20% of our society has some sort of disability? that means 1 in 5 people have a disability. do they realize that they are missing out on a billion dollars of consumer spending a year? how have they not tapped into this market?
as i am writing this i am getting angrier and angrier. my son does have a handicap sticker for his car and do you know how many times he has been asked (by adults), “why are you parking in that spot?” “do you know that is a handicap spot?”. why should zach have to deal with this at all? when he wears long pants you cannot see that he wears leg braces. why should zach have to explain at all?
this is what zach deals with on a day to day basis. something has to change. we must advocate for our children everyday. we must fight discrimination when we see it. we must change the perception of people with disabilities. i cannot do this alone. i am just one mother. i need your help. copy and paste this blog and put it on your facebook page. pass it along and maybe one day soon we will see change begin to happen.