Thursday, July 24, 2008

People with Disabilities Get the Screw at the Pump

Despite what Michael Savage blathers on about, persons with disabilities most simply need a little help in order to live an independent life. However, life is full of disappointment and discrimination especially when it comes to people with disabilities. In short, they get the shaft. Oh yes, they may qualify for the best parking spaces but having worked in the disability field for 8 years I can tell you that life is hard and painful for persons with disabilities.

Just pumping your own gas is a feat as this NBC undercover news report discovered. People with disabilities, such as Clayton Porter (who has no arms with which to pump his own gas) rarely get assistance at the pump despite that pesky law requiring it. Watch the videos to see how pump attendants assisted him. Hint: Sometimes they don’t; customers help out instead.

Now you may be wondering how a man with no arms can drive. That really is a valid question and I am going to answer it for you. Technology is such that a person may be unable to brush their own teeth but they can drive their own car.

I have a friend and former co-worker (I’ll call him “Cowboy”) who is paralyzed from the shoulders down. Larry at Simple Thoughts knows him. There is so much that Cowboy is unable to do on his own. Being paralyzed will do that to you, but Cowboy owns his own van and drives himself all over. Thanks to computer technology, he uses a zero-effort mini-wheel, and a mouth joystick. That idea may scare you especially if you have not worked in the field. Don’t feel bad. That is understandable. I have ridden with Cowboy and he is an excellent driver. It took time, months in fact, for him to learn how to drive. A special company from Louisiana installed the equipment and taught him how. Cowboy took his driver’s test and passed with flying colors.

Cowboy cannot pump his own gas. He either has to find someone to go with him, which is hard as he lives on his own. Or he relies on the goodness of gas station attendants (and the law) to pump his fuel for him.

Incidentally, Cowboy was an excellent employee of mine, working for me for nearly six years until Governor Blunt cut Medicaid and prevented Cowboy from working and also receiving Medicaid health care. A person whose situation is similar to Christopher Reeves’ needs Medicaid health insurance just to pay for medicine and equipment. Our small, non-profit business had two employees and could not offer health insurance. So rather than work, pay taxes, and contribute to the community, Cowboy has to sit at home and draw completely off the taxpayer. Cowboy would rather work, and did work for me as long as he was allowed. We don’t hear much from Michael Savage about that do we?

Christian nation, indeed. There is nothing Christian about screwing people with disabilities.

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