Friday, September 19, 2014

Handicapping it

In my just completed family trip to LA, I had the pleasure, yes pleasure, of taking my handicapped father to a Dodger game at Dodger Stadium.  To be precise, my father is not wheelchair bound, but walks with great difficulty, requiring the rental of a wheel chair for the purpose of this game.  American law requires wheel chair access to all public locations but that does not necessarily imply ease of access, especially in older buildings such as Dodger Stadium.

Thus, my father was very concerned about the amount of hassle involved in this whole endeavor. We were both surprised and delighted by the experience.  First, the parking is right next to the entrance, with a flat plain and no more than 30 meters to get the seats.  The seating is exclusive to handicapped people, involving no stairs and designed with movable seats to allow easy access.  Moreover, there was a dedicated employee in the section helping with all our needs, including bringing some replacement fries when ours fell on the ground.  The concessions and bathrooms were right behind us for easy convenience.  Handicapped sections exist in most areas of the ballpark, allowing for all budgets.  I have to admit I bought expensive seats, but I don’t imagine the conditions are different in the other sections aside from the need to take an elevator.

I am an anti-Dodger fan, but I have to respect the Dodger organization for catering to a growing percentage of the population that has limited mobility.  Unlike many theaters and restaurants that technically have handicap access, this sports organization understands how to integrate a significant segment of people into a group experience without impacting the experience of the general population.  I honestly hope that this approach will become the rule if and when I need it.

To sum up my “handicapped” experience, my father ended the pleasant evening by saying, “Let’s do this  again next year.”  What more can be said?

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