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Falstaff1485

Your opinions please

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I thought that I would try posting one more time and ask board members’ opinion and advice about something that happened last night. To put things in context, perhaps I should tell you my current state of mobility.

I am a RBK (13/07/06) and my prosthetic leg doesn’t fit very well due to stump shrinkage; I’m waiting for my new cup and socket. I’m on two sticks. If I try to walk on one stick or put too much weight on my right leg I get excruciating pain. I need something to hold on to in the loo.

Last night, my wife suggested we went out for dinner. We decided upon Chinese food and I telephoned a restaurant that had been recommended to me. I explained that I was disabled and was told “no problem”. We arrived and firstly wanted to make sure that all would be OK. We were told that that toilet was upstairs and that they had regular disabled customers who could eat the food but could not use the loo. They could help me to use the loo if I wanted.

We left and went to another restaurant where we knew there was good access and facilities for disabled customers (although not Chinese food).

It occurs to me that I have two possible courses of action. Firstly, do nothing and don’t make a fuss. Secondly, do something about it.

I would be interested in your opinions. Perhaps you may think that I have other courses of action open to me.

Falstaff

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The only course of action i would suggest is reconsidering how YOU are approaching it. Don't forget you are going to a Chinese restaurant...Give them a break, they might not speak fluent English. You need to ask straightforward questions 'Do you have a loo with wide doors and handlebars on the groundfloor'? Everyone has a different concept of what 'disabled' is as debated often on this forum alone. Maybe the person you spoke to at the restaurant thought you wouldn't have trouble climbing stairs.

Yes, all restaurants in a perfect world would have easy access to their loos. But we are not in a perfect world so in most situations we have to rethink our approach to how we deal with it without becoming embittered and go out with the only intention of having a good time and enjoying our meal.

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Perhaps you could write a letter to the owners of the restaurant explaining the situation. That would be (guessing here) their failure to warn you in advance, the annoyance of booking and having to go elsewhere, and the embarrasment of having to leave after their offers to "help" you go to the bathroom. You could then tell them about disability access laws, and ask them what they were willing to do to correct this.

That could hardly be construed as creating a "fuss", and may well put them on the path to fixing this. Sometimes you catch more flies with honey ;)

I wouldn't do nothing, but I wouldn't race off immediately to lodge official complaints. Some people just don't "get it", you know? This disability thing doesn't sink in. I know it sounds ridiculous for them to think they are disabled friendly simply because they have some people there who can carry you up the stairs, but who knows, it could well make sense to them. Maybe some gentle reminding and education from you is all they need.

If not....well, that is probably another story.

:)

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Hi Kaz

I looked very carefully at my original post. I hope that there was no bitterness there. I tried to lay out the facts without any reference to how I felt or didn't feel. I did try to ascertain what facilities the restaurant had before I went; I had to accept their telephone assertion that there would be no problem.

Falstaff

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Simply take your business elsewhere. They are the losers here. They lost your business as well as possible other disabled people who might have eaten there.

I live in an area where most of the eateries are new, one level facilities with proper restrooms. I know how hard it can be to have to scale stairs while on crutches. I won't put myself in that situation under those circumstances. I'm only disabled though when I'm on crutches.

It sounds as if you're in England. I can only imagine the expense of redecorating one of the small, old buildings into a modern facility with proper handicapped accessible restrooms. Again they lose by not accommodating the disabled.

The states passed the Disability Act some years ago. I'm sure there are plenty of facilities that are still not accessible to the handicapped. If I felt uncomfortable patronizing a business that wasn't handicapped accessible, I would go somewhere else.

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Falstaff

I agree with both Karen and Ally on this one.

A few years ago I had two joint replacements, one 11 months after the other & on top of being AK & BK, it was not the easiest of times mobility-wise. Whilst I was recovering, if I wanted to go to a place for the first time I didn't mention that I have a disability; disability covers such an enormous range of conditions. Instead I said that I had mobility problems, that I found stairs difficult or something similar...something that was specific to me. I also casually asked if they had a downstairs loo and/or a chair with arms.

If after asking questions, I arrived at a place and it was unsuitable for me, I would firmly but politely say why I was leaving. If somewhere said that they were 'disabled friendly' and I found they weren't I would tell them why I thought they weren't and ask them why they said they were. However, I have found that the majority of businesses, especially ones that sell food usually bend over backwards to accommodate you.

Lizzie :)

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Yes, all restaurants in a perfect world would have easy access to their loos. But we are not in a perfect world so in most situations we have to rethink our approach to how we deal with it without becoming embittered and go out with the only intention of having a good time and enjoying our meal.
Simply take your business elsewhere. They are the losers here. They lost your business as well as possible other disabled people who might have eaten there.

The states passed the Disability Act some years ago. I'm sure there are plenty of facilities that are still not accessible to the handicapped. If I felt uncomfortable patronizing a business that wasn't handicapped accessible, I would go somewhere else.

Both of these make one very good point - IN A PERFECT WORLD -

If you - or I - were to take on every imperfection , we would be stopping everyone that was going 60 mph in a 55 mph zone.

As Neal says, they are the losers. For you to choose to fight every WRONG, would, I suspect, take up all of your time and emotions. Yes, these SLIGHTS, do irritate us, and yet we have to choose WHICH wars to fight, for there will always be those who don't follow ALL of the rules.

As Neal pointed out, in America, they have what is called, Americans with Disabilities Act. Because of it, Businesses MUST be handicapped accessable. This means ALL facilities, as well as parking. Those that aren't are fined and with enough infractions, closed. That said, however, there are not enough resources to try to police every facility all of the time, and usually, like everything else, "THE SQUEAKING WHEEL GET'S THE OIL, or other words, a whole lot of people complaining get's more results than just you by yourself.

If you feel that this particular resturant is in violation, then get a group together to complain to the proper authorities. The bigger the group, the better.

We have an old saying here in America, that say's: You can't fight City Hall. Well, my personality didn't listen to that much when I was younger and I picked many fights with them. Some to success and some............ Anyway, I am much more selective today over the ones that I choose to fight.

Also, IN MY OPINION, you aren't offending me at all. You are playing to a tough audience here that also is trying to contol bitterness and emotions on a daily basis. Believe me, we do understand. Stick around, and maybe some of this will rub off. It may not make you any less bitter, but will help you learn to deal with it better.

When I first became an amputee, I was very defensive also, and recall complaining because the handicapped parking slot was further from the door of my favorite auto parts, than other parking places. After grumbling about this for a few day's I discovered, that this was the only parking space where they could put a ramp for wheel chairs.

Many business are just scraping by and to completely remodel to make everything handicapped accessible could put them out of business. Like Kaz, said, "Cut them some slack", (I believe it was" Give them a break"). As long as their attitude and ententions are good, if their place doesn't work for you - go somewhere else.

I doubt if you or I could stand perfect 100% scrutiney in all that we do. I know that I couldn't - but I try.

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I think the best advice you've gotten so far is to BE SPECIFIC when calling to "investigate" a new place. And, if you've not called ahead (we all need some spontaneous "fun" in our lives), and you discover a block to your mobility, find someone and explain EXACTLY why that is a problem. Nicely, but firmly.

When most AB folks hear the word "disabled," they tend to think "wheelchair user." Or maybe, "wears a brace" or "blind." "New amputee with a bad socket fit" absolutely does NOT cross their mind. Yes, in that perfect world, it ought to... but it doesn't. So you have to educate them about new amputees with a bad socket fit.

There is a shop I enjoy visiting. In many, many ways it is a paragon of disabled access. Last Christmas season, however, they put up their annual display of trees... and spread the floor with straw, to give it a more "natural" look. I was the new amp with the bad socket fit, and I was using a walker at the time. Walker and bad socket on loose straw on a slippery tile floor equals recipe for disaster.

I flagged down the manager and I explained. In detail. Graphic detail. He looked thoughtful but not fully convinced. I did not see the tree display that day.

I went back a couple of weeks later. The straw was still scattered about... HOWEVER, clear paths had been made through it, and the most lavishly decorated trees were now located around the perimeter of the straw-strewn area, so they could be viewed from a cleared area of the floor. That worked for me, and I enjoyed viewing the display.

You're never going to find perfect access for everyone, no matter what their disabling condition... but you can find places that are comfortable for YOU, and you can continue to educate others... and possibly trigger some changes for the better. It requires a combination of firmness, flexibility, and good humor. It requires being very upfront and honest about your condition... that "education" thing. And it requires being honest with yourself, recognizing that there ARE things in your life which will be difficult to do... and figuring out the "work arounds" which will allow you to do them.

take care... cherylm

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Speaking of Christmas trees..........

One of my pet peeves is to drive into a super market, and see the stand of Christmas trees put in the handicapped parking spaces.

I mentioned it to one of the store managers one year, and his reply was that his mother was handicapped. That's all. No other explanation. It just happened to be the nearest place near the front entrance, so that was where they went. I guess his thinking was that he was inconveniencing the fewest number of people, because the majority couldn't park there anyway.

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Haven’t we been over this already.

Sep 28 2006, 04:48 PM

I'm off to a curry house tonight and if they haven't got a loo that has provisions for me - God help them!

Sep 29 2006, 06:29 AM

As for me; we went for dinner in my wheelchair because, I'm having problems with my right leg. I was soon punished for my presumption. The step up to the restaurant was far too steep for the chair and the door was too narrow. How dare I presume that I should be able to go out for dinner!? After all the poor restauranteur has only had a paltry eleven years to prepare for my entrance. Ah well, it's my fault being an amputee; I should keep my expectations low.

Sep 29 2006, 07:35 PM

I have no problems with talking to the DRC this morning about last night's visit to the restaurant

Falstaff

How did your conversation go with the DRC?

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Thank you for your comments. As I said earlier, I hope I was not showing bitterness; I hope I was being quite emotionless.

The situation between the restaurant and I is now resolved in a civilised, reasonable, amicable way. The owner felt that it was wrong that we were not able to eat at his restaurant; he also felt that to have been told that I could eat there but I could not use the toilets was inappropriate. I pointed out that those words would not have been spoken to an able-bodied customer and as such could be interpreted as discriminatory.

He told me that he was intending to revamp the whole restaurant anyway, and that he would look at the DDA to ascertain his responsibilities under the act. He told me the person who answered the telephone would be given some training. He also arranged to deliver one of their banquets for two whenever we wish.

Regards

Falstaff

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As regards "going over this before", yes I went through a similar situation a month or so ago. I thought, perhaps naively, that our second attempt at going out for dinner might be more successful. I tried to be somewhat more dispassionate in this posting.

As regards my conversation with the DRC went, their conciliation service has gone into liquidation. They are not giving any advice apart from sending out literature.

Falstaff

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Well, thats a happy ending. Good for you, Falstaff.

I was wondering what could happen when asking for the 'loo' in a Chinese restaurant.. :lol: The Chinese pronounce the L as R, so you might end up with sweet and sour kangaroo steak and flied lice :P :lol:

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Guest bearlover

:

Well, thats a happy ending. Good for you, Falstaff.

I was wondering what could happen when asking for the 'loo' in a Chinese restaurant.. :lol: The Chinese pronounce the L as R, so you might end up with sweet and sour kangaroo steak and flied lice :P :lol:

:lol: :P :lol: :lol: Or they forget to add their S and you may only get 1 noddle..Not noodles!

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Hi Falstaff,

For what it’s worth here’s my two pennies worth to this debate,

Until I lost my leg I was totally clueless about ……..mobility, aids, accesses, what you can expect. & what should be in place in shops, pubs restaurants. (You get the general picture) <_<

What I have found out now is what I expect or what I think should be in place is different from what some other person wants /expects.

Like wise how I read the “rules” which have been in place for some time now differs from how other people see them.

For example when I went back to work, I was asked if there was anything that I needed to do my job .(I had better explain that I work for a huge multinational company which has loads of “experts” in working practises / risk assessment / safety what the latest health and safety regs the law ect ect.)

I replied that a grab handle & a shower seat in the showers would be nice. They got them fitted straight away. No problem.

That was all I needed at that time.

Some time later part of my job is going “outside” into the boiler/turbine house where protective gear had to be worn: - hard hat overhauls glasses mask & safety boots.

Well this is where the fun started I couldn’t get my foot into the boot, so I asked is it really necessary for me to wear a heavy safety boot on my left leg.

Now no one could give me an answer on that one, then some bright spark came up with the idea of cutting the boot so my foot would slid in. That worked great but the weight pulled my leg off almost. So then came the debate should I be allowed outside without new “risk assessments “being done .or should I be allowed out at all?

That was all about a year ago and they still can’t make a decision on my boot & should I be allowed out side at all. And this is a company that has loads of experts in this field.

There are loads of other examples that I have come across.

So if this company can’t come to a correct answer what chance does the small restaurant owner or shop owner have of even getting to read the act yet alone understand/ implement It.?

I know this isn’t the answer that you wanted but this is the real world not some make believe world that we would like.

As for myself outside work I have had a few experiences of things not as good as I would like them and have found out a that by explaining my situation in a positive way the staff have gone out there way to be more than helpful.& I have had better service than what I could have hoped for .

But the bottom line is that we are all different in what we need and what we expect yet the same law was written for us all to benefit.

Go back to the restraint and have a chat with the manager you never know what might happen. Take care ……………..mick lak

Ps good post.

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I know this isn’t the answer that you wanted but this is the real world not some make believe world that we would like.

Ps good post.

Falstaff

I was just thinking of all the progress that has been made in benefits for the handicapped over the years, all because people such as yourself stood up and spoke.

I was once told however that: You can get more bears with honey than you can with vinegar (I know that we aren't hunting for bears, but you get the point.) Diplomacy can go a long way. It's called ATTITUDE.

That is the main point that I am getting out of these posts. It isn't you finding irritation with the lack of a bathroom (loo), but possibly the attitude.

With that said , I remember an admonition of my father's: Life is not always fair How true, but it is still better than the alternative.

Stick around Falstaff. I for one, need posters like you, to remind myself why I come on this forum, i.e.; to learn, share, and see other viewpoints rather than get stuck in a rut with just mine. It's been 18 years now, and I still always learn something when I come here. Perhaps you will also - as we will from you.

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Welcome back Falstaff,

I believe that in the end, you handled that very well.

A lot better than the Ex Royal Navy Guy you mentioned on your other posts.

I agree with Mick in that I do not believe that any of us ever noticed before that not all restaurants, bathrooms, pubs, and / or "loos" were handicapped accessible or not. I knew that they were supposed to be, but I thought that a railing on the wall next to the toilet was enough to help some elderly person get close enough to use it!

I had no idea what a properly handicapped equipped establishment would consist of, nor do most people. Until they become one!

But I do believe that here in the States, they are far ahead of others on getting their establishments up to Code. All of the newer buildings have to be accessible, but if the buildings were constructed prior to the accessibility codes going into effect, or "Grand Fathered" as they call it, they can avoid many of the requirements.

Ted

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Hi Falstaff, good to see you back....

It seems that you had a very nice out come to the problem you encountered. If we could all be so lucky..

As Neal and Jim have both stated, here in the United States, most places have complied with the Disabilities Act and are handicap accessible, however, we too, still have some places that aren't. I, for one, encountered one of them just last week. But, as most of us have found, sometimes, just the right word, or a word, to the owner, is often enough for changes. I sometimes find that sale barns, or farm stores, aren't always "accessible" even though, they are a ground floor restroom. But then again, in all fairness, I guess they haven't thought of it, because in a world where most people are able bodied, it just doesn't cross their minds. They work on it, usually, as soon as it has come to their attention..

The fact that the owner is so willing to comply when he does his remodeling is great.. Even nicer that you will get a meal for two delivered when you want it.. what a nice bonus.

Hope you join us again.........

Jim,

I too, have encountered the handicap parking spots being filled... Ours was a local department store manager who apparently didn't think they got used very often so he decided to put the shopping cart cage there.... Hubby politely told him about that one the day that we got there and had noticed the spots were no longer available.... In all fairness, somtimes, it isn't always the "store policy", it is the manager of the store.....It was in this case anyway...

Higgy

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But then again, in all fairness, I guess they haven't thought of it, because in a world where most people are able bodied, it just doesn't cross their minds.

The most common statement I hear from non-amputees, when I tell them what kind of business I have, is: I just never stopped to think how an amputee would stand in a shower This just never crosses their mind anymore than how we do any number of tasks.

I don't fault them for this. I don't normally put myself in anothers place - until it becomes time to do so.

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I see a frustration in your reply, but one I share. I live in the states and have had to modify how much I drink liquids if in public because bathrooms are not easy to get to even if they are disable modified. I went with my brother to Arkansas several months ago and had 2 bathrooms I could get into easily out of a 3 day trip. I find it pathetic. We did not just stop any where as my brother is in a wheel chair also, we did like truck stops, to places to eat. The most accesable places were the Harley and Honda dealers we stopped at. How interesting is that. I do not know what the answer is. Courtesy and kindness go a long way but what if it is not returned. The reality of a bathroom only on the secound floor of a place for public is beyond stupid to me unless there is first floor as well. My husband is not disabled but he is diabetic and he has to go to the restroom all the time, so we stop frequently and the ability to get into bathroom is definetly not on the winning side. I will say I am glad you do not just throw in the towel and not go out, but I have learned real fast were I can and really will not go. Good luck there was alot of good comments made the tragedy of this is we might be the minority when it comes to going places but unfortunetly there are more of us everyday. As an RN and a sister of a paralyzed brother I thought I knew disbaled issues very well. How ignorant I realize now I was, until I became a BKA. Until you walk the mile, limp the mile, role the mile you never truely understand another persons challenges.

Skully Cat

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Hello Everyone!

This is a good topic and one that is very interesting for people new to the game!

3 months ago I wasn't in a wheelchair and although felt the world would be a better place if everyone had good access to everything they wanted, whenever and whereever they were I never really did anything about it, except hold a door open for someone or ask the person in the wheelchair if they needed help with the item from the top shelf (not that I condone pornography personally ha! ha!).

Seriously tho!

I have always felt that if you truly believe that something is wrong and needs to change then you have to make it change, no one else is going to do it for you.

Yes we have laws to stop discrimination, but people need to act to enforce them, whilst I agree with the comments about taking your business elsewhere, what if the next person for whatever reason can't do this and is in a worse condition than you and CAN'T fight the good fight to stop discrimination and will mean he/she will miss out. We the people that can should get of our backsides and fight for our rights and beliefs, because if we don't then we really will be the losers.

Blimey, glad I got that off my chest before I go to the Golden Bamboo, with no loo, for the half price meal for two!

Cheers

Neil :angry:

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I can't begin to count the times since my amp that I've mentioned something I can / can't / wish I could do, and the person I'm speaking with will say: "I never thought about that." Disabled access issues are definitely in that "I never thought about that" category.

Like Skully Cat, I thought I had a pretty decent grasp of the issue prior to my own disability: my parents both had severe hearing loss... my mom was also blind and suffered frequent fractures due to osteoporosis... I'd had a number of friends with varying disabilities, including a couple in leg braces and a couple who used wheelchairs. I worked in a hospital office for several years, and I was the one who would generally assist patients with mobility problems, as I often had a better grasp of the practical "how-to-do-its" than many of the medical staff. I made it a point to at least be aware of possible access problems when I was out and about, so that I'd be able to advise or assist if ever there with my folks or friends. I thought I had it "covered."

Then I lost my leg.

I quickly learned that "all ramps are not created equal." MOST are built for ABs who simply have a tough time stepping on or off the curb... the "next" group the ramps are intended for is wheelchair users, and they are often too narrow or too steep to be genuinely comfortable for someone in a manual chair to use. Leg Amps, with our troubles learning how to handle a downhill slope and our ankles which may have only limited, if any, flexibility, are NOT part of the ramp-design equation.

This drives my own family and friends crazy. Every time we're out somewhere, every time we approach a ramped area, I have to scope it out and decide whether it's a "good" ramp... or whether I'd be better off climbing the curb, or taking the stairs, or finding another point of access. (This was REALLY bad in my "newbie" days!) They'll say, "but there's a ramp right there"... I'll say, "but it's one of those that slants down and to the side at the same time; that's so unstable to me, with my ankle, that I'm better off climbing the curb." Then, next curb we approach: "but you just climbed the curb!" "Well, that was a fairly level, low one; this one is higher, angled, and has plants growing over it; I'll use that ramp over there." "Oh," they reply, "I never thought about that."

They also get confused by the fact that I use various "aids" -- or none at all -- depending on the specific situation: no aids indoors... cane outdoors, except sometimes not... walker at night, usually, or in places like amusement parks filled with hyperactive children who don't pay attention and go running into strangers... wheelchair for days which I know will feature several miles of "walking," or if I've been advised not to put weight on the stump for a while. Crutches would be in the mix, too, if I were any good at using them. Whatever it takes for me to be out and active.

The walker and the wheelchair ALWAYS "freak them out"... no matter how many times I've explained it, they're afraid that either one is a sign of some tremendous, permanent "setback." And when I explain AGAIN that "this is temporary," and why, their response? "Oh. I never thought about that."

And THAT just covers ramps, walking surfaces (in part) and crowds... restroom (loo) access warrants its own BOOK.

Soooo... If access issues can be so confusing and seem so random and mysterious to our own families and friends -- and even to US at times -- you can imagine what it's like for those who have no personal experience with that great mass of folks collectively known as "the disabled." Then "the law" and "the experts" often can't agree on what constitutes "access"... and even when they DO, it's possible that WE won't consider it true access. (Heck, there are frustrating rainy days when I think anyone who allows a water puddle to remain on a tile floor for more than 15 seconds should be taken out and shot!)

"Oh. I never thought about that." as representatives of "the disabled," I think we do owe it to ourselves and others to give them good reason to "think about that"... and we need to do it with firmness, courtesy, and, hopefully, good humor... so that once they "think about it," they'll be inclined to DO something about it.

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Guest bearlover

Speaking of Christmas trees..........

One of my pet peeves is to drive into a super market, and see the stand of Christmas trees put in the handicapped parking spaces.

I mentioned it to one of the store managers one year, and his reply was that his mother was handicapped. That's all. No other explanation. It just happened to be the nearest place near the front entrance, so that was where they went. I guess his thinking was that he was inconveniencing the fewest number of people, because the majority couldn't park there anyway.

[/quote

I also hate when people leave shopping carts in the handiapped parking! Once I got out to move a cart and someone drove right in and took the spot..and said thanks :angry: They also had no licience plate or hang tag for handicapped parking :angry: I still had my pipe at the time. It was obvious I neede that spot. I told managment he the police came and gave him a ticket for parking there without ahang tag.. :angry:

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Well, thats a happy ending. Good for you, Falstaff.

I was wondering what could happen when asking for the 'loo' in a Chinese restaurant.. :lol: The Chinese pronounce the L as R, so you might end up with sweet and sour kangaroo steak and flied lice :P :lol:

Very good. When do we get to hear the old Rastus racial stereotype jokes <_<

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Last night, my wife suggested we went out for dinner. We decided upon Chinese food and I telephoned a restaurant that had been recommended to me. I explained that I was disabled and was told “no problem”. We arrived and firstly wanted to make sure that all would be OK. We were told that that toilet was upstairs and that they had regular disabled customers who could eat the food but could not use the loo. They could help me to use the loo if I wanted.

We left and went to another restaurant where we knew there was good access and facilities for disabled customers (although not Chinese food).

It occurs to me that I have two possible courses of action. Firstly, do nothing and don’t make a fuss. Secondly, do something about it.

I would be interested in your opinions. Perhaps you may think that I have other courses of action open to me.

Falstaff

I seem to have got a bit more confident about speaking out about things as the years have gone by, but I probably think you did the best thing for you on that occasion Falstaff. I say this because, I find it much easier to "speak out" when I am wearing a comfortable limb and feel in more control of the situation. On a "good day" though, I would probably have said something. I think if I was wearing a limb that was painful the last thing I would want is confrontation and having to make an issue out of the situation, I'd just really want to sit down and have a meal. By leaving and going to another restaurant you did not "settle" for unsatisfactory facilities and voted with your pocket.

The other thing, of course you could still do is send them a letter to make sure that the owners of the restaurant are made aware of what their facilities are lacking and that you went to another restaurant because of this.

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