Happy Thanksgiving, Blocking the Bus and a Wheelchair That Went Airborne
Plus an open Q&A with yours truly on the next Accessible Travel Chat to be held next week, registration is required.
For readers in the United States, today is a national holiday — Thanksgiving! This day offers many of us an opportunity to gather with family and friends, reflecting on our lives in a spirit of gratitude.
Even as I spend this holiday with family in Florida, my thoughts are with those who find themselves alone at the start of this holiday season — the inaccessibility of our transportation systems continues to keep many of us apart. Last week, on my Q&A with accessibleGO (watch the recording here), someone highlighted the difficulty of traveling just a few hours from home as a wheelchair user. Short of paying the extortionist rates for non-emergency medical transportation, what options are there for accessible transport in rural areas if you don’t have a vehicle of your own?
The question of transportation is one that I am facing myself this weekend. My accessible van (which I keep in Florida, rather than in Boston where I live), is currently out of service for repairs. When I arrived in Gainesville, Florida earlier this week (home to one of the largest universities in the state), it was 7 p.m. and the city bus service had already suspended operation! That left me wheeling 6 miles at night in my wheelchair to be reunited with my family (thankfully, the GNV Airport has this important accessibility feature, even though they don’t force taxis to be accessible).
Fast-forward to last night, when I met friends for trivia night at a local pub — I had to roll 4 miles each way (8 miles round trip). The city has no wheelchair taxis and a public transit system that does not adequately serve the community.
Despite the week’s transportation challenges, I remain filled with gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day. I especially want to thank you. Not just for your readership and support, but for helping me to find purpose in doing something that I love. Your stories, dreams, desires and struggles encourage me to advocate for a more accessible world, whenever and wherever I can.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with happiness, love and gratitude.
I’ll leave you with a few links to new content and an invitation to my first Accessible Travel Chat Open Q&A Session.
Take care and talk to you next week,
Accessible Travel Articles
Why I Blocked a Bus in Fort Lauderdale With My Wheelchair
My principled stand wasn’t nearly as dramatic as those taken by the earliest advocates for accessible public transportation, but I did delay about 50 passengers who, like me, were trying to reach the airport.
American Airlines Agent Tosses Wheelchair Down Baggage Chute, Violent Crash Ensues
"That's not what I would call handling with care," a TikTok user wrote after filming airline staff tossing a wheelchair down a baggage chute.
Watch the Recording: Accessible Travel Chat with Jake Steinman, Founder of the TravelAbility Summit
I interviewed Jake Steinman, Founder of TravelAbility, to discuss how destinations can be more involved in advancing accessibility.
Register to Attend the Next Accessible Travel Chat
No glitzy promotional image necessary for this one, since there is no guest on the next Accessible Travel Chat — YOU are the focus, and I look forward to taking the time to answer your questions about accessible travel.
This Open Q&A with yours truly will take place one week from now, on Thursday, November 30 at 5 p.m. ET (New York time). To sign-up for this event hosted on Zoom, please visit the Accessible Travel Chat registration page.
Are you shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Here’s how you can support WheelchairTravel.org at no additional cost to you
When you shop online this holiday season, consider starting your journey through one of the affiliate links below — by clicking through the links and making a purchase with your favorite retailers, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It’s a great way to show your support for the website, and allows us to get a tiny piece of retailers’ massive marketing budgets.
Here are a few of my favorite stores:
Shop at Amazon to support Wheelchair Travel — Amazon has a lot of Black Friday deals already on offer, but even more will be loaded tomorrow.
Tommy Hilfiger — Their adaptive fashion line is extremely popular and on sale this weekend — through Nov. 27, you can take 50% off everything online, plus an additional 20% off purchases of $150 or more for Hilfiger Club members.
Save on attractions with CityPASS — Truly a must-have if you are traveling to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa Bay or Toronto.