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This Small Town Girl in a Lonely World Couldn’t Take the Train Going Anywhere Because It Wasn’t Accessible and Now She’s Stuck and It’s Midnight

By Steven Verdile / 2022-09-14
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It seemed like it was too good to be true … because it was. The girl, 19, was eager to embark on an exciting Journey, a fantasy of limitless possibilities. However, her dreams were crushed upon realizing that the train platform wasn’t accessible by wheelchair, leaving her stranded there in the middle of the night.

“I assumed, since my town could afford a train that runs ANYWHERE at midnight, that they could afford an elevator or ramp and that the train station would be accessible, but I was wrong,” she said. To make matters worse, the lack of accessibility information available online meant she didn’t realize it was inaccessible until she had already been dropped off via her town’s accessible transit service.

“I was stuck at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, surrounded by a pile of broken wine bottles and something that smelled like bad perfume.”

She opened the accessible transit app to request a ride back home before remembering that all rides must be scheduled 24 hours in advance. She then tried to call an accessible Uber, but there were none within her radius.

With limited options, the girl resorted to taking the bus, but the nearest bus stop was roughly two miles away. She carefully drove her wheelchair past some sketchy strangers walking up and down a busy boulevard and finally made it to the bus stop beneath a couple dimmed street lights.

The first bus that came had a broken lift, and on the second bus the driver didn’t know how to operate the lift. The third bus driver just drove by her altogether.

“Then the fourth one came but there was already a wheelchair user in the only wheelchair space on the bus. The problems just kept going on and on and on and on.”

Fortunately she didn’t stop believing, and just as the sun began to rise, a fully functioning bus arrived that took her home.

While this multitude of problems may seem extreme, it is a reality that many disabled people face, and not only in small towns. In fact, sources are reporting that on the same night, the same thing happened to a boy who was born and raised in south Detroit.

The post This Small Town Girl in a Lonely World Couldn’t Take the Train Going Anywhere Because It Wasn’t Accessible and Now She’s Stuck and It’s Midnight appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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Prioritizing Accessibility in Public Spaces Is Better for Everyone

By Halsey Blocher / 2022-08-26
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When I say “inaccessibility,” what’s the first thing you think of? You might envision something like a set of stairs, a broken elevator, or a

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Boyfriend Finally Pops the Question: ‘So, What Happened to You?’

By Nate Woogen / 2022-08-24
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Sitting down to dinner with his disabled girlfriend of three years, Brent Hawthorne, 27, decided it was time to ask the question that had been on his mind for a while. Taking a deep breath, he gestured to Monica Kimmel, 29, and asked, “So, what happened to you?’

The question hung in the air for a second, as Hawthorne worried that he had overstepped his bounds. He quickly took a sip of water.

Throughout the relationship, Hawthorne had occasionally wondered why his girlfriend was in a wheelchair, but he thought he should spend a few years getting to know her personality before asking about her disability. 

Kimmel had just taken a rather large bite of mashed potatoes and took her time chewing. Hawthorne considered retracting the question, but it was too late. He set his glass down and wished he had waited another year or so. 

Kimmel swallowed and put her fork down. “Muscular dystrophy,” she said. “Can you please pass the salt?”

As Kimmel salted her potatoes, Hawthorne sighed in relief. He took his phone out under the table and discreetly texted “She said muscular dystrophy!” to his curious friends. He would have to break the news to his parents in person.

The post Boyfriend Finally Pops the Question: ‘So, What Happened to You?’ appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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The Future Isn’t Curing Disability, the Future Is These Two Threatening Wheelchair Users We Found in a Weird Stock Photo

By Steven Verdile / 2022-08-15
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Genetic therapies and scientific studies have long been pointing toward a future where nobody is disabled, but a new stock photo indicates the future might be quite the opposite.

The picture shows two individuals who appear to be leading a strange cult of disabled supermodels. They are holding hands, but in a menacing way, not a cute way. Do they ever unlink those cold, oily palms? We don’t know, but experts believe this gesture is a sign of solidarity, symbolizing a unification among disability communities in the future. Experts also note that the models’ designer clothes and emotionless expressions are an indication of wealth and status.

You may think this is just a weird photo shoot that ended up on the internet, but it is clear that this photo must be an artifact from the future. The most compelling evidence to support this idea is the fact that this disabled couple has clearly hired the lighting designer and camera crew from “Avatar.” But under current societal conditions, a disabled couple most likely couldn’t afford this, as it would force them to spend in excess of Medicaid’s $2000 asset limit.

While this snapshot gives a few insights into the future of disability, it has sparked more questions than answers. The photo might have you asking yourself, “Are those models actually disabled?” and “Would they be open to becoming a throuple?” We don’t know, but we hope so!

The post The Future Isn’t Curing Disability, the Future Is These Two Threatening Wheelchair Users We Found in a Weird Stock Photo appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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Server Asks Literally Everyone at Table Except Disabled Man What They Would Like for Dinner

By 2shoes4eyes / 2022-08-11
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“So that’s everyone’s order then,” said the server after rattling off the entrees, looking around the table but stopping short of Jack Sullivan, the guest of honor. 

It was hard to miss Sullivan with his gaudy “30th Birthday” paper crown and the arrow-shaped balloons pointing at him.

“Excuse me, you missed me!” he said, waving his hand frantically from his wheelchair to get the server’s attention. “I would like to order too since, you know, it is my birthday.”

The server looked at Melissa Jameson, Sullivan’s girlfriend who was seated next to him. “Did you say something, hon?” 

Sullivan and Jameson looked at each other and thought, “Not again!” This was, after all, only the gazillionth time this had happened, and they were counting. 

“I’d like the surf and turf and a pint of your amber ale, please,” said Sullivan a few decibels higher, giving the server the benefit of the doubt that perhaps he didn’t hear him.

“Is he old enough to drink adult beverages?” the server asked Jameson, nodding toward Sullivan and kicking his wheelchair. “And, you know, being special needs in that, um, handicapped chair thing.”

Fortunately, Sullivan and Jameson were used to this. Not wanting to ruin the party, they took it all in stride. “Maybe if you swiveled your head a few degrees further, you’d notice my 30th birthday crown!” retorted Sullivan. “And I’m not special needs or handicapped. I am disabled. And not deaf. I. Hear. Everything. Coming. Out. Of. Your. Mouth.” After several eye rolls, the group finally got all the orders in. Sullivan and his friends enjoyed the rest of the party without a hitch. 

“Who does the check go to?” asked the server at the end of dinner, again looking at everyone except Sullivan, who incidentally was treating his friends to dinner.

Sullivan smiled. 

Avoiding eye contact with the server, Sullivan took his wallet out and turned to address the plant in the corner of the room. “Hey there! Did you say something?”

The post Server Asks Literally Everyone at Table Except Disabled Man What They Would Like for Dinner appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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When Disaster Strikes, We Must Change Our Trajectories

By Brianna Albers / 2022-06-27
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I could tell you about Old Santa Fe, New Mexico. Cobblestone streets, framed by blooms of green. The town jail turned bookstore — a refuge

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True Allies: Paul Rudd and McDonald’s Team Up to Support Disability Rights by Making ‘Mac and Me’ Sequel

By kwschaef / 2022-06-20
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LOS ANGELES — In the 1988 sci-fi fast-food film “Mac and Me,” wheelchair-using Eric Cruise befriends a weird little alien dude, and then they party with Ronald McDonald. After years of taunting Conan O’Brien with a clip from the film, actor Paul Rudd is taking his love of this cult classic to the next level. Rudd is set to partner with McDonald’s to write and direct a “Mac and Me” sequel, one that he hopes will mark a major advancement for disability representation in mainstream media.

“In the original movie, main character Eric Cruise is a wheelchair user who helps his extraterrestrial friend MAC and MAC’s family become American citizens, but I always wondered what happened next for this guy,” Rudd told reporters. “Then it hit me: What if Eric used his diplomatic prowess and teamed up with MAC to launch an intergalactic disability rights organization?” 

The idea hit Rudd like a lightning bolt, and he began writing a screenplay that night. He said his story includes a romance between Eric and a Martian woman, MAC struggling to maintain control of his fast-food empire, and a climactic battle with an interplanetary insurance company trying to take Eric down.

“People think that the original ‘Mac and Me’ is just a bad ‘E.T.’ rip-off, but true fans understand that it’s a beautiful tale of friendship, breaking multicultural barriers, and inclusivity,” Rudd said. “With this movie, I want to honor those themes of disability inclusion, expand on the world that MAC and his family hail from, and share the beautiful crunch of a nice six-piece McNuggets meal.”

Rudd’s film, titled “Mac and Me: Eric Fights for Disability McRights,” is currently in pre-production. While every major film studio passed on it, Rudd was able to secure funding through the partnership with McDonald’s. Given the fast food chain’s prominent role in the original film, Rudd was eager to make a deal with the company.     

“We cut Paul a check after he promised us that the movie would feature an entire subplot about a McDonald’s on Mars,” said a McDonald’s representative. “Our involvement in this movie also prompted management to launch a new line of inclusive Happy Meal toys. We’re especially excited about the Wheelchair Martian action figure and the cochlear implant set for MAC’s deaf relative.”

Perhaps the most exciting development is that Rudd convinced Jade Calegory, the disabled actor who played Eric in the original movie, to reprise his role for the sequel.

“I retired from acting years ago, but I couldn’t say no to Paul,” Calegory said. “And if I didn’t take the role, some non-disabled actor would probably steal it. No way I’m letting that sh*t happen.” 

The post True Allies: Paul Rudd and McDonald’s Team Up to Support Disability Rights by Making ‘Mac and Me’ Sequel appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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Me and My Wheelchair, Somehow Surviving in the Middle of Nowhere

By Brianna Albers / 2022-06-06
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My parents’ dreams revolve around the middle of nowhere.

You probably think I’m joking. But the fact remains that I’m writing this column from a

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Angel Accessibility Committee Finds Stairway to Heaven Violates ADA and Installs New Elevator

By kwschaef / 2022-05-18
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HEAVEN — Hoping to make their home more inclusive for souls who enter, a group of angels set out to replace the longstanding Stairway to Heaven with a fully refurbished elevator. Angels Jedediah and Ruth are the founders of the Angel Accessibility Committee, which was created to ensure that Heaven complied with ADA standards.   

“We realized how far behind we were as soon as we formed this committee,” Jedediah told reporters via an eagle messenger. “We had countless residents complain about transportation issues they experienced getting from one part of paradise to another. Wheelchair users and blind residents especially had difficulty getting across the ocean. Even up here, we still don’t have airplanes that accommodate wheelchairs. Thankfully, our committee is working to address this issue with afterlife lawmakers.”

Jedediah said the biggest accessibility problem was that so many disabled residents had trouble just getting to the pearly gates in the first place. He and Ruth knew they had to do something about the infamous stairway.

Established in 3,500,000,000 B.C.E., the Stairway to Heaven was created with the knowledge that it would eventually become the subject of an iconic Led Zeppelin song of the same name. However, accessibility wasn’t a priority in those days for the architects who built it. 

Today, with a progressive leadership team and more resources, the various angel subcommittees are working together to create a more inclusive atmosphere. Replacing the outdated stairway with a functional elevator marked the first step in this process.

“It’s really encouraging to see more people who I used to know in my previous life get here without any issues,” said Shilpa Patel, a Heavenly resident who used to be an accessibility coordinator on Earth.       

Jedediah said the accessibility committee has many other plans to make Heaven more welcoming to disabled residents.

“Assuming there’s room in the budget and we get approval, we want to provide every wheelchair user with a jetpack so they can easily fly through the clouds at their leisure,” he said. “Cloud-hopping is one of our favorite activities here, and we don’t want anyone to be left out of participating.”

The post Angel Accessibility Committee Finds Stairway to Heaven Violates ADA and Installs New Elevator appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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Date’s Wheelchair Looked Totally Different in Profile Picture

By Nate Woogen / 2022-05-12
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Sitting at the local French bistro for a first date, Ryan Bowman, 26, couldn’t help but be distracted by the clear difference between his date’s actual wheelchair and the one in his profile picture on the dating app.

“I stood there for like ten seconds as I saw him,” said Bowman. “I even started to get my phone out to check the picture again.”

Howard Perry, 24, who was paralyzed in a car accident, had taken his photo with the camera angled upward, making his seat height look closer to 19 inches than 18 inches.

“Of course, it doesn’t matter in the end,” said Bowman, recalling that he had been particularly attracted to the wheelchair’s broad frame and wide wheels. “But it feels dishonest.”

He kept pausing the conversation to check the wheelchair, which had a noticeably less glossy finish than in the photo.

“Maybe the lighting was different,” said Bowman. “I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.”

The wheelchair was completely oblivious to Bowman’s silent judgment and spent the rest of the date innocently parked on the ground.

As he left the date, Bowman changed his dating profile to include: “19-inch seat height or don’t bother.”

The post Date’s Wheelchair Looked Totally Different in Profile Picture appeared first on The Squeaky Wheel.

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