part two….traveling home

my son, zach, wears leg braces. the person in front of him has leaned all the way back. this kid has nowhere to put his legs. so who is to blame?  the person in front of him that has no idea he wears leg braces? the airline?  should zach say something to the woman in front of him? i am sure he doesn’t want his mother to fight his battles for him and that woman has every right to lean her chair all the way back.

my questions to you are… when should people with disabilities advocate for themselves and at what point should companies, such as an airline, take responsibility that there are people whose disability aren’t always visible.

should handicap seating be available on an airplane? as a consumer you can pay more for “comfort seating”. “comfort seats” are seats with more leg room. what if all those seats are taken at the time you purchased your ticket as is what happened to us. i ask these questions because i cannot believe or understand that in the year 2017, people with disabilities are still fighting to be recognized as consumers. buses, and trains and subways all have handicap seating. why does an airplane not offer handicap seating? i actually went and asked the flight attendant this question. he basically told me “there are no handicap specific seats” he mentioned the “comfort seats” as well as the “emergency exit seats”. he then remembered that it is against the law for a person with a handicap to sit in the “emergency exit” seats. so I’m guessing that unless you pay for a first class seat or a “comfort seat” you are (excuse my language) shit out of luck. he also asked me “what do i consider to be a handicap” and “why am i asking this question?”.  i was taken aback by this question. i have to explain to him what i consider to be a handicap? i must admit it made me a little angry to have to answer to him what i consider to be a handicap. is it fair to even ask that question? when you apply for a handicap sticker for your car, you must prove your handicap. i absolutely understand that. should people with disabilities have to carry around a badge or identification to prove they have a disability?

imagine this—you wear leg braces (which keep your feet at an 90 degree angle). you are on a plane and the person in front of you leans all the way back. now you cannot move your legs at all. you are sitting upright in a seat, knees bent at a 90 degree angle as well as your feet because of the leg braces. you have to sit like this for a minimum of 3 hours. how comfortable does that sound to you? try that without leg braces and let me know how you make out. as well as being uncomfortable think of how unsafe this is. how good do you think this is for your circulation? how many times have you heard of people getting blood clots in their legs because they don’t move enough on a plane? how safe is that for a person with a physical disability?

when will companies and manufacturers realize that 20% of our society has some sort of disability? that means 1 in 5 people have a disability. do they realize that they are missing out on a billion dollars of consumer spending a year? how have they not tapped into this market?

as i am writing this i am getting angrier and angrier. my son does have a handicap sticker for his car and do you know how many times he has been asked (by adults), “why are you parking in that spot?” “do you know that is a handicap spot?”. why should zach have to deal with this at all? when he wears long pants you cannot see that he wears leg braces. why should zach have to explain at all?

this is what zach deals with on a day to day basis. something has to change. we must advocate for our children everyday. we must fight discrimination when we see it. we must change the perception of people with disabilities. i cannot do this alone. i am just one mother. i need your help. copy and paste this blog and put it on your facebook page. pass it along and maybe one day soon we will see change begin to happen.

part one…traveling to florida

traveling on an airplane is not fun anymore. i am on my way to florida to surprise my father in law for his 75th birthday!!!  let me tell you a little about my flight on the way down.

i am an average sized woman (take this to mean whatever you perceive it to mean). my seatbelt is so tight that i feel like a balloon that is about to burst. now, i know that i am not a size 4 but i also know that i am not morbidly obese either. i don’t want to ask for a seatbelt extender because honestly i think it would be too big but for the love of average sized people everywhere, can’t they make a seatbelt that fits average sized people? i have never had this issue before and i know that i have not gained weight. i guess not all seatbelt are created equal.

let’s talk about average sized women. the average size woman is between a size 12 and a size 16. i know, i know most of you consider that plus size but guess what…….it is not!!! lets just say that i am within that range. why on earth would airlines not have seatbelt to fit the average size woman? what exactly are we trying to say to women? if you’re not below a size 10, you can’t fly comfortably? what if a pregnant woman is on board? should she sit in a seat that literally feels as if the baby is going to shoot out of her?

the seat belt was only issue number 1. as i am looking for my seat on this flying tube of people with a ton of carry on luggage, i get to my seat. i have a window seat. the man in the middle seat has his tray table down and is busy on his computer. the plane is not fully boarded, he knows it is a full flight, why on earth would you set yourself up to be completely asked to pack up and get up so the person in the window seat can sit down? did he actually think he had his own row? so i sit down put my headphones on and start to tune out everyone around me. have you ever heard of the man spread? it is when a man sits down and completely spreads his legs wide open. as most of you know airlines have made it basically impossible to sit comfortably on a plane. seats are so close to each other in every direction that it is pretty impossible to move. so here i am sitting next to mr spread legs man with my legs pushed to the window side of the plane. i forgot to mention that he is hogging the arm rests on both sides of him. my right arm is cramping up so badly. I’m lifting my arm over my head, I’m shaking my arm to get feeling back into it. nothing is really working. as i have mentioned before, i am an average sized woman. just picture in your head what the scene might look like… tight seatbelt and mr spread legs man, and my right arm flying over my head and my legs pressed against the window side of the plane. it kind of looks like a really strange yoga posture.

The point of this blog post brings me to mindfulness.

the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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People come in all shapes, sizes colors , etc., there are people always around you whether it be on the sidewalk, bus airplane even a public restroom. How much does it take to be mindful of each other?

as we enter in this time of uncertainty and a new president, i hope that everyone takes a moment to realize we interact with one another everyday. being mindful of each other should happen (cramp in arm!!! pain!!!) naturally but unfortunately it often does not. take a look around you. what do you see? i see people. big people, small people, tall people, short people,disabled people,( you get the point) all beautiful in their own way. so mr computer leg spread man and airline people how about some mindfulness of the people around you and your customers?

We are about to land so before I shut my computer down, one final question….How the heck do I get this cramp out of my arm???????