I posted a video to my Facebook page about being kicked out of a business in my area because I had a service dog and they have a No Pet policy. I tried to educate the manager of the store and let him know that this was against the human rights legislation in Canada and that we had every right to be there. When I realized that he was not going to let us in, (us being my 2 children, my husband and myself) I started the video taping because I wanted to be able to take it to human rights and show them exactly what happened.
At first the response was great people supported me in wanting to educate the public about this issue. I was not trying to vilify the company or the employee I wanted to take the opportunity to educate and show the public that things like this happen every day. Most people were amazing and it did help spread some awareness around the issue and start the conversation.
Others however took to turning what happened to me and my children into my fault because I did not take into account that this employee was just doing what he was told. I can agree with that to a certain extent; but if my boss told me to do something that I knew was morally wrong you better believe I would say no. At some point in our lives we have control over what we do and say, this employee was not a teenager he was the manager of the store that night. However I do not think that he is a horrible person, nor do I believe that he should be punished in any way. What I do think is that education is the KEY. We can not fix what we do not acknowledge. If it makes you uncomfortable to watch the interaction ask yourself why ? Why does it make you uncomfortable ? How would you feel if you were not allowed where you have the right to be simply because you have a disability ? How would you explain to your kids they can’t enjoy some fun time because their mom is not allowed in because she has a disability ?
What we need is for more people to be willing to make some noise stand up for what is right and what is wrong. When you are the one that uses your voice for change not everyone is going to like that; and that is ok, because if you say nothing because you fear what others will say or think, who will stand up for you and your rights? No one !
When you use your voice to help bring about change and break down the stereotypes and misperceptions, it doesn’t matter what the keyboard warriors write because they are not the ones who are fighting for equality every day of their lives. They are not the ones who are being kicked out of businesses for having a disability, they are not the ones who get asked inappropriate questions in public, they are not the ones that are being stared at and talked to like they are 2 because they have a disability. They are the ones who want to make you feel less than and no one can do that to you because your voice will always be louder than their typing.
Until Next Time
Ashley and Rick