We ordered tickets a month in advance to go see Star Wars on opening weekend with friends. My husband is a huge fan.
As we pulled up to the venue there were people in orange vests outside the parking garage, turning everyone away. The movie theatre shares a parking garage with a stadium and whenever there’s a game it fills up.
As we pulled up to the first orange-vested guy he tried to wave us away but then my husband said the magic words that (almost) always work: “we need accessible parking.” The guy looked at the blue badge on our dash and let us through.
We parked easily and rode the elevator out of the garage, but inside the theatre we found the escalator broken. No problem, we’d take the elevator.
We asked the employee standing there if both were indeed broken. “Yeah, sorry,” was the extent of her answer.
I turned away and was prepared to do the stairs when my husband stopped me. “Hold on, there has to be a solution.”
He went back to the employee and asked “so if both the escalator and elevator are broken what is the plan for accessibility?”
She stumbled a bit over her words and then went to ask her manager.
The manager quickly returned, apologized for the state of things and led us to a back elevator for staff and deliveries. He led us all the way to our theatre and thanked us for our patience.
. . .
I wrote last time about advocating for accessibility and as much as I try to do better and be bolder, it’s exhausting and sometimes doesn’t feel worth it. In that moment in the theatre taking the stairs felt like it would require less energy than challenging the dismissive staff.
That’s where allies are essential.
The people who love me often step in and advocate for me when they see it’s hard. My husband is especially good at this and I am so grateful for him.
Allies make me feel seen, and valued, and worthy.