Share your “horror stories” in the comments section below!
I just had an idea for a book. 50 chapters. Each chapter would feature interesting horror stories from meetings and events I’ve attended in every state. (In order to complete the book, I’d have to schedule trips to Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota and Alaska, but I’ve been to the 46 others.)
I could write about the time I went to a radio conference in Los Angeles where evening events were held at seperate hotels that were about a mile apart. On the way back, around midnight, my chair ran out of power! I had to ask a stranger off the street for a push back to my hotel. I also had to ask him to push me into my room and plug my chair into the charger. (I was younger and dumber then and would never put myself in that position now!) Thank God he was appreciative of the $20 tip I gave him.
I could write about the time in Orlando when I didn’t plan my bathroom visits well enough and had to “go” in the middle of a luncheon. We were in a huge ballroom. It wouldn’t have been a problem if the tables had been spaced apart wide enough to allow my wheelchair to pass through. But it was so crowded and space was so tight that I had to ask about 45 people to get up out of their chairs to create a path for my exit! And I was kinda’ in a rush! It seemed to take forever and I thank God I barely made it to the restroom in time!
I could also write about the time a group of about fifty conference attendees were being led on a tour of a huge sports facility in Indianapolis. I was part of a herd, focused on networking. My mind wasn’t on my disability until we were “shepherded” right to the edge of a staircase! I managed to stop before I fell down the stairs but I wasn’t able to find an elevator in time to rejoin my group and I missed the rest of the tour.
My stories are all about wheelchair access, but there are plenty others that could be told by my blind friends, deaf friends, friends with epilepsy, friends who have chemical sensitivity and other disabilities. More and more, meeting planners are realizing that people with disabilities are conference attendees. And the good news is that these horror stories are becoming fewer and farther apart. Accessibility has become a priority with meeting planners.
I just discovered this great resource for meeting planners produced by the American Bar Association. Do me a favor and share this with the folks that are planning the meetings at events you will be attending. Their attendees with disabilities will appreciate being able to attend a conference without a disability related inconvenience. And remind the planners that if they want the best keynote speaker, they just need to have a ramp leading to the stage!
Now, let’s hear your “horror stories!”