07 February 2010

Resuce Me?

By: Mike Berkson

An interesting situation occurred this weekend. It was one of those things that you had to laugh at, instead of putting your fist through a wall. I went to the Cubby Bear (Chicago) for a birthday party. The party was on the second floor. So, obviously I had to take the elevator. (Side Bar: The reason this location was chosen was because it was accessible.) The elevator was not a traditional elevator, it was a lift that was converted into an elevator. It was only for people in wheelchairs, not for anyone or anything else. On the way up the ride was fine, a little bit cramped and a little slow, but fine. The party was great, I got to talk with friends and discuss possible venues for Handicap This, all in all a pretty good party. When we were ready to leave, we got in the elevator and one of the staff members pressed the button and turned the key. We were there for a good 30 seconds before we realized that something was wrong. We just thought it was really, really slow. They tried pressing it a few more times, the consensus was that it was frozen. My next thought was the stairs. Unfortunately, the 20 stairs were too narrow and too steep. We did consider having a group of people carrying me down the stairs. What makes this even more difficult is the fact that about 4 years ago, I had back surgery to straightened my spine. In the process they fused 2 titanium rods to my back each one about 18 inches long. This made the situation even more complicated. My safety would have been compromised. Our next option was to call the Fire Department. The staff at the Cubby Bear was more than accommodating. They called people on their day off including the manager, just to help us and they were happy to do it. When the Cubby Bear called the Fire Department and explained the problem, the Fire Department told them that since it was not an “emergency” there was nothing that they could do. The only way that they could come was if I needed to go to the hospital. Needless to say, the whole scenario was beyond comprehension. Luckily, after an hour and a half, the good people at Cubby Bear were able to fix the elevator. Living with Cerebral Palsy, I have had my share of experiences like this, we are no strangers to overcoming adversity. But what would have happened if the elevator did not work?

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