Monday, August 5, 2013

Yippee (Continued)! More Thumbs Up to a Few Places that Accommodate the Disabled

Enough griping. Time for three more thumbs up to places that have made my disabled life a bit easier recently.
Any business that has built-in entry mats

This a catch-all. I’m sure there are plenty. Two buildings I frequent locally --  one dental, one medical -- were built a few years ago by an incredibly considerate company.

The mats at all the entrances are built into the flooring, not just placed on top of it. It is a subtle, attractive way to accommodate the disabled. I don’t know if that’s why they did it, but I like to think it is.  

I say a silent hallelujah every time I enter one of those buildings. It might not seem like much to able-bodied people, but it makes me happy every time I travel over them. The alternatives, which are way more plentiful, are rugs that I am always curling up and getting my walker glides stuck under.

When these rugs or mats are outside and inside an entry, it takes quite an effort to pick up my walker to get over the first one without screwing it up, then navigate the metal threshold barrier (which sometimes traps my walker glides and rips them off), then the mat inside the door.
Built-in rug

My fitness center has three of these annoying rugs before I can check in at the front desk. My post office has two of them. Because I can’t bend down to fix them, I am often leaving disheveled rugs in my wake. Probably a safety hazard.

Goldstar, the online entertainment discount company

A friend of mine, knowing how I enjoy  live theater and concerts (and also knowing I love a discount), suggested I check out the offerings on Goldstar.

It’s a national company that says it wants to encourage more people to take advantage of entertainment offerings by working with providers to make tickets more affordable.

Then I remembered I am disabled. (Believe it or not, I forget sometimes. Like the time I bought a two-pack of umbrellas from Costco only to realize once I got home there is no way I could hold an umbrella.) And I’ve had such problems finding accommodating venues that I gave up before I explored Goldstar any further. Sure, the tickets might be cheap but would I be able to attend with my walker or wheelchair? Or would the seats be in the inaccessible rafters?

Not worth the trouble or the gamble, I thought.

But then my daughter ordered half-price play tickets for the both of us, using Goldstar’s instructions to email them right away to specify any special needs requests.  Goldstar said they would get in touch with the venue to seek accommodations.

On their website explaining this policy, Goldstar goes on to say, “Not all venues offer special-needs seating, but we're typically able to work it out, and we'll certainly do our best to make it happen.”

And they did. 

Which leads me to thumbs up for the venue.

 La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

This beautiful theater in La Mirada, California is extremely accommodating for the disabled, from parking to seats to restrooms.

Disabled parking is plentiful, close and free. The entryway to the theater is very accessible and flat. I note both of these accommodations because I've been to many a restaurant or theater where it is quite a hike from the parking spot to the entrance or an uphill climb to even get in the door. It was a relief to be able to park close by and walk in easily.

Inside I found couches in the lobby and comfy seating in the lounge area where you can wait before the curtains go up. Again, I've been in places with only uncomfortable metal or plastic seating while you are awaiting entrance to the theater. The La Mirada Theatre even had a lit fireplace, adding to the homey feel. Beverages come with lids on them so you can take them safely into the theater.  

My daughter had requested aisle seats for me in my walker and her. She wrote that I couldn't go down stairs. After getting our tickets at will-call, we sat at  perfect floor-level seats at the end of a long aisle. 

At intermission, when people were swarming to the restroom, an attendant inside directed a steady line of women to available stalls. And she saved the disabled stall only for handicapped people. Yay.

It made the experience fast and easy for everyone.  And the play was fantastic.