There are many different worries I have in this world. With Bill’s impending visit to Florida and knowing my travels to many places down here, I know for a fact my planning for our outings will be overly detailed. Which bus stops have sidewalks, what stores have ramps, what parts of Disney have special ride vehicles and which ones I’ll need to transfer him in. Things we take for granted.
But this is nothing new when dealing with caring for someone on a wheelchair.
In college, my friend Kelly and I wanted to go see the latest romantic comedy in theaters at the time, but us both being broke college chicks kept us from going that week.
But we had connections, that connection being Bill, a movie usher for the local chain of movie theaters. One of the many perks of his job.
So we decided to make it an outing that weekend. Little did we know we had to work for it.
An elevator is a handicapable person’s best friend. We made it to the first round of elevators from the parking garage, then the first 3 stories of the mall, and there we went to the tower in the food court leading up to the theater, those three bad words etched in marker on a paper sign with the mall’s letterhead on it.
OUT OF ORDER.
Both elevators in fact.
“Sorry buddy, it’s out of order.” Kelly said to him as we tried to come up with a better plan.
We sat there, all three of us, pondering ways to get him up stairs. The decision to carry him came up several times, which sounded like a plan, but how would two girls somehow manage to prop up a grown man on a moving staircase (oddly enough, not out of order.) while carrying a 30 lb foldable wheelchair at the same time?
Nearby, a group of preppy teenage girls stared at us in confusion, as if they were trying to come up with a plan.
“You know, my daddy is security here overnight.” a short blonde informed us. “There is a freight elevator in that hallway that goes to the movie theater. Turn left and another right. If anyone asks, blame it on my daddy.” She then went on to give us his name.
“But Mandy, we’re not supposed to do that.” Bill said in a panic in fear of getting fired.
“Don’t sweat it, honey.” Kelly reassured him. “We’ll get you up there soon. Here, want to play with my Ipod?”
So we begin our journey into the great unknown, the dark, unfinished hallways of never ending doors and work stations, the only sounds were of Bill’s sweet and out of sync voice belting out the Beatles as he rocked back and forth in his chair to the music.
We found an elevator, but not the one we were looking for, as it took us to the roof of the mall. No lie. The roof, complete with the emergency helicopter landing overlooking the city of Providence in all its glory. So wish I could of taken a picture. That moment on the roof with Bill singing Blackbird gave me ultimate comfort in a time of chaos.
After a few minutes we decided to give up. We went down the way we came when a janitor that barely spoke a lick of English appeared out of nowhere. Although he couldn’t speak back to us in our native language, he understood completely our intentions and lead us to our destination. And not only did he do this for us, but he informed security what happened and they were there to escort us out the right way after our movie, no hard feelings. And not only that, they had the crew out working on the elevators as we left. Talk about efficiency.
The small things we as able bodied take for granted can cause so much crazy to someone without the ability to get around. My time with Bill in the past has made me well aware of my surroundings and has helped me become a more detailed planner. There are many places I will have to find ways around it in order to make his visit to Florida a stress free event. But I’m up for anything, even if it’s us sitting on a heliport overlooking the city skyline, singing Blackbird.