It seemed like it was too good to be true … because it was. The girl, 19, was eager to embark on an exciting Journey, a fantasy of limitless possibilities. However, her dreams were crushed upon realizing that the train platform wasn’t accessible by wheelchair, leaving her stranded there in the middle of the night.
“I assumed, since my town could afford a train that runs ANYWHERE at midnight, that they could afford an elevator or ramp and that the train station would be accessible, but I was wrong,” she said. To make matters worse, the lack of accessibility information available online meant she didn’t realize it was inaccessible until she had already been dropped off via her town’s accessible transit service.
“I was stuck at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, surrounded by a pile of broken wine bottles and something that smelled like bad perfume.”
She opened the accessible transit app to request a ride back home before remembering that all rides must be scheduled 24 hours in advance. She then tried to call an accessible Uber, but there were none within her radius.
With limited options, the girl resorted to taking the bus, but the nearest bus stop was roughly two miles away. She carefully drove her wheelchair past some sketchy strangers walking up and down a busy boulevard and finally made it to the bus stop beneath a couple dimmed street lights.
The first bus that came had a broken lift, and on the second bus the driver didn’t know how to operate the lift. The third bus driver just drove by her altogether.
“Then the fourth one came but there was already a wheelchair user in the only wheelchair space on the bus. The problems just kept going on and on and on and on.”
Fortunately she didn’t stop believing, and just as the sun began to rise, a fully functioning bus arrived that took her home.
While this multitude of problems may seem extreme, it is a reality that many disabled people face, and not only in small towns. In fact, sources are reporting that on the same night, the same thing happened to a boy who was born and raised in south Detroit.