I travel often and there are always things that come up just like when everyone travels. Usually for me those things are probably a little different and revolve around accessibility issues, access issues, things that have to do with me being blind or having a guide dog.
Sometimes almost never, you are shocked by the true accessibility and inclusion that a company offers; my latest trip to Ottawa, Ontario was one of those times.
Let me walk you through why I say this.
I get off the plane and get help to the line of cabs, no issue (yay we are off to a good start() when we get to The Holiday Inn and Suites in Kanata, I am greeted by an amazing staff member who checks me in and hands me a key card that made my heart sing. Why? Well because without me asking or saying anything she put a bump dot on top and handed it to me and says the bump dot is on the top for when you put it in the slot to open the door. This truly made my day. I never had to ask, I never had to even say anything about being blind; it was just done as if I was considered just like everyone else.
I was hungry and the restaurant was going to close soon, so I headed over to the restaurant and was taken to a seat. The great waitress asked if I would like any help with the menu rather than handing me a print menu and walking away. She quickly helped me pick out a delicious Buffalo Chicken wrap. When she brought me back my drink she set it down and as she set it down she said “you drink is at 12 o’clock with a straw in it”. Again I never had to ask, or say anything about my my disability. When my lunch was ready she brought it over and announced herself, and said “your wrap is at 9 and your fries are at 3, there are toothpicks in the wrap, Enjoy!”
These things seem so small, yet they make people like myself feel like we are on the same playing field as the rest of the customers. So many times, when you go to a restaurant or a hotel you have to explain that you are blind and that you will need x, y, and z. It is absolutely refreshing to have people act as if your blindness is just a normal thing. (It is normal). And they give you the small things that make such a huge difference yet seem so small.
The reason these things seem so small to so many is because they really are. It does not take much to have true accessibility and inclusion. A bump dot on a key card, a description of where your drink is at the table, braille on the signs, and directions like 10 paces to the left and down the hall. These are all things that make my life so much easier and also make it that I am able to have the same experience of others.
Thank you to The Holiday Inn and Suites in Kanata,
Until Next Time,
Ashley and Danson