HOW many times recently have you put your hand up in order to help make our society a fair and equal one?
If the answer is no then I hope you have at least noticed any unacceptable behaviour that discriminated against disabled people because that is a start.
Only by pecking away in small ways as well as in big ones will we achieve our goal.
In the end it all boils down to two words; you have heard these words before many times but I don’t apologise for saying them again because they are the key words to have at the forefront of our minds.
Attitudes and accessibility should be imprinted on our brain but actually attitudes are the key to everything because they are at the heart of equality.
This week I have experienced some really positive attitudes towards ensuring equality and I would like to recount two of them as examples.
The affect of these two cases was to make me feel really positive about the move society was making towards equality.
First was at a vet surgery that I was using for the first time where I found a step preventing me from entering on my scooter. The receptionist was not particularly helpful and gave the impression that I had to cope. Not a good start but the story gets better.
Later the practice manager rang to apologise saying that the receptionist was new that day and didn’t appreciate the problem but not to worry she had measured the step and was having a ramp made ready for my visit.
Two positive outcomes; the receptionist has learned about the necessity of access for everyone and the vet has set an example of good practice in that area by providing a ramp.
No high drama, no unpleasantness just a quiet making of a point. Everyone is capable of making this sort of stand.
My second positive and heartening example was from a bus driver, passengers and an inspector on a London bus. The bus was absolutely packed when it drew up at my stop and I decided that there was no way I could get on.
I told the driver I would wait for the next one but he insisted that I got on and proceeded to marshal the passengers to give me room to get on.
This was not the end of the story though as, due to trouble with a passenger, we all had to get off and on to the following bus.
Not a message I wanted to hear but never fear the passengers were making sure that the driver was aware of my needs and ready to help. The positive attitudes raised my spirits above the inconvenience of having to change buses.
The other side of the coin though is for disabled people to ensure that they have positive attitudes too and be ready to challenge bad practice when they encounter it. Every challenge is a bonus point for equality.