Mile High Miracle

Are you finding it harder to find a spot? Odds are that if you use handicap parking, you’ve been inconvenienced by an able-bodied violator at least once. I think this is something we have just come to accept, or at the very least expect.

Some people take this a step further and bring this same sort of behavior to the airport. You see, airports offer wheelchair service to disabled passengers. However, they cannot ask for any proof of disability so it is easy to request a chair when you are perfectly capable of navigating the airport with ease. WHY would someone do that? you may be asking. Well, let me tell you: people using wheelchair service get a front of the line pass at TSA. And if it suits that person to be “disabled” a little while longer, they can board the aircraft first.

Airport wheelchair pusher

Okay, big whoop. People take advantage of the system; it’s an age old story. Why should I care? Well, let me tell you: disabled passengers can reserve wheelchair service. You might notice wheelchair pushers in airports, just waiting for the person who reserved their service. But if you approach them and ask to use their service, you would get the chair. It’s first come, first served. This leaves the reservee cold and dry as they have to wait for a new chair.

If that doesn’t speak to you, let’s try a different approach: every time the need for wheelchair service is faked, it can cost the airline over $40. The best estimate for how many people abuse this service is 15%, and that’s a conservative figure. That probably averages out to at least 2 people per flight. Lets say $100 goes towards these fakers on your flight—that’s almost a dollar extra you spend every flight for these cheaters.

Using a handicap stall in the bathroom is one thing. Using a handicap parking space in an emergency—I can forgive that.  But if I were to travel with someone I love who really needs this service, we do everything right and reserve the chair only to have it swiped by someone who is clearly able bodied, and have to wait half hour for a new chair…I’d be furious.

This isn’t the airline’s fault; they are following ADA regulations. In fact, a lot of employees catch these imposters jumping out of their seat when they clear security or when the flight lands, running with their luggage. They call them “Miracles”. I think this one of those “laugh to not cry” things and that employees are similarly frustrated with this behavior. The truth is, it’s our fellow man’s fault.

What kind of culture fosters this belief in 15% of travelers that it’s okay to take a chair from a truly disabled person? Where’s the respect? As I reported last week, violent crimes against the disabled have increased because they collect government disability benefits. This hypocritical paradox thing just blows me away. Attack the disabled and steal their services—in what world is this okay? I’m feeling a little disgusted right now for being a member of the human race.

I don’t mean to homo sapien sapien bash, but it is Controversy Humpday, so you are allowed to have strong opinions today, especially if you share them in a comment.

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One thought on “Mile High Miracle

  1. You didn’t even touch on all the people with an ace bandage on their wrist in wheelchairs at Disneyland going up to the front of the line with their entire party of 10. I’ve even seen then take turns wearing the ace wrap. Terrible!

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