Friday, August 16, 2013

The great ECV debate.

I am an American with a disability. And being that I have a minor case of Cerebral Palsy to the right side, I know not every disability is easy to recognize. While some are more apparent on the outside, others are hidden within. Even my own is at times hard to notice as I have accommodated and adapted so it is.

On a normal basis I do not complain about my disability, I do not point it out or make a big deal out of it. In the long run there are far more that have it worse than I do, need the accommodations and the help more than I do. I am usually the first to offer my seat up to someone who can't stand. A mother with a young child. Even if I know I have just as much right as the blind person I gave my seat to. I do not abuse, cheat or neglect the system.

Though I realize many do.

 If you are a frequent visitor to the parks you are fully aware with the endless debate regarding the subject of ECV's. Some see them as a nuisance, others see them as a necessity, while others see them as something that made this persons with disability outraged.These are those that view the ECV's and see them as an opportunity to cheat the system.

For those that aren't familiar with Disney policy regarding those with disabilities and bus services let me introduce you to them. Like any other guests, they are-and rightly so-allowed to use and have the privilege to use Disney bus services to get around the hotels and parks. They wait in line no different, unlike the system we all knew as a kid there are no different or 'short' buses. When one pulls in to the space-usually every 20 minutes-these guests and their parties wait to the side, as the cast member sets up the ramp, fixes the set and then assists them on, after the members of the parties are welcomed to join before the rest of the waiting guests are allowed on.  I have never had an issue with allowing those with disabilities on first, I can even understand one or two accompanied guests, especially if it is a guardian. But I will say sometimes I find when the party consists of 20 members, I tend to believe they like the rest of us who are waiting could actually wait...

On my latest trip down to Disney World,  I stood in line waiting for the bus to bring us back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. In front of us, was a row and a half of guests doing the same thing. It was late, it was hot and it was definitely past half the kids bedtime. On the side lined up was 2 ECVs, a boy in a decked out wheelchair and a woman in a pretty teal wheelchair. As the bus pulled in ECV lady #1 backed up hers, as ECV lady #2  stood up walked over to the line and had her son sit down in the ECV we all waited as the cast member rearranged and worked out the bus so he could get as many people, and the ECV's on the bus as possible. It was a struggle with ECV lady #1, but he managed to do it. Then it was the sons turn who raced it around before plopping the ECV on the lift and waited as the castmember brought him on board. When it was finally on the bus, he was asked if he could move, to which he said yes and got up. Two down, two to go, the cast member went back down to see to the wheelchaired guests, and with his back to him the ECV guy began to dance around the bus. And the lady who was the original ECV driver, not only walked all over to the walkway, but carried three strollers and climbed the stairs. The family then gave high fives to one another as the cast member talked to the wheelchair bound guests.Clearly not all of them needed that ECV rental.

The cast member was attempting to tell the wheelchair bound guests that they would have to wait for the next bus. The mother would not have anything to do with it, it took a little bit of determination on her end before he said he would see what he could do and finally managed to get her on as well...the teal lady had to wait for the next.

Maybe this issue wouldn't have gotten me so much had it not been for the fact there were two people who clearly did need the assistance. Maybe those two legitimately had reasons for the ECV's rentals, this we will truly  never know. But from where I stood in line, the lack of empathy and the appearance that these people thought that they somehow were above anyone and deserved to take advantage of this right and services was clear.

No not everyone abuses this sort of thing. There are several out there that need them and do not use them in this sort of fashion. But its families like them the kind that use them to take advantage that give those who actually need them, the bad rap that they have.

But until something further is done, this will continue.

Although I do have one final thought to those that decide to use it to gain advantage. Karma has a way of coming back on you.

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