As a lifelong wheelchair user I have learned that before I go somewhere that I have never been, it is in my best interest to call first and ask many questions about the layout.
Tip: Don't ever just ask if the venue is "accessible" because a lot of folks don't know what that means. Ask, "How many floors?" and "Are there any steps at all?" Be as detailed as possible with your questions.
Ok, back to my story. I recently called the House of Blues and explained that I was about to visit the HOB for the first time as a guest of someone who rented a balcony box for a party of approximately 15 people. I further explained that I am a wheelchair user and I asked my standard list of probing questions. The representative on the phone assured me that I would have no navigation issues and I would be able to get where I needed to go. She said they even had a bathroom near the balcony boxes! Awesome, right?
When I arrived at the House of Blues, everything and everyone seemed very accommodating. An employee escorted my date and I to the elevator and even pushed the buttons for us. Strangely nice... Maybe he was trying to over compensate for the fact that the elevator looked and sounded like a crime scene waiting to happen. Anyway, we made it to the balcony and caught up with our party who was lined up at the box entrance waiting for our friend who had the "box pass."
There are two things you things that you can always depend on when you roll with the hippies who I roll with. #1 Someone will be late. #2 Once all parties arrive, you will experience an unforgettably good time.
Our friend showed up, presented the pass, and the usher directed our party to enter the box. My date and I were the last in our line. The usher stopped us and I expected he was going to direct us to another elevator because there were steps to get down into the box. I was wrong. He looked at me and pointed the opposite direction and said "Wheelchair seating is over there." I responded with "Are you seriously going to separate me from my friends?" He looked very confused and said "That's where the ADA seating is. You don't have to use it though." The ADA seating was nowhere near where my friends were.
None of our friends heard what was going down and I really did not want to put a damper on their good time. I was a guest after-all. So, I held back the Rosa Parks speech that was formulating in my brain. I made a quick decision to let go of the horrible feeling of discrimination and just party on like the rock star that I am! Fortunately, I'm very small and I was with a big, strong guy who just carried me down the steps into the box. A good time was had by all. However, I doubt I'll go back to the House of Blues.
|Jane Hash and Nancy|
Pimpin' Taint Easy