Monday, June 18, 2012
Accessibility is about more than ramps and grab bars. It's also about attitudes.
On Saturday, the kids and I went to a local farmer's market. I was a little worried because the market was out in the country and actually on a farm. Wheelchairs and dirt down't always play well together, but I really wanted some berries and squash.
We arrived at the Manakin Farmer's Market, and sure enough, parking was in a field, and all the booths were set up under the trees in a patch of dirt. But we were there and I was determined to get some vegetables. We unloaded Ashley's and Ronnie's wheelchairs and started the push.
Ronnie was able to push himself over the dirt bumps and craters, but Chip had to handle Ashley's chair for me. I think she actually liked it - perhaps it reminded her of an amusement park ride.
We made our way around the booths, picking up squash, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, rasberries, some strawberry jam and some fresh English muffins. I was happy but soon got even happier.
The three organizers of the market came walking towards us, and began to apologize profusely for the lack of accessibility. They explained that the space was free, which helped keep the cost of the produce low. They said they would like to make it more accessible but didn't know how. The offered to push the wheelchairs for us. They told us that the next time we came we should park right up next to the booths so we didn't have to push so far. There comments were all made very graciously. They were concerned and they truly wanted to help.
I'll take accessibility of minds over physical accessibility any day!