Being disabled isn’t easy, and there are lots of inconveniences and indignities that go along with it. I could probably come up with as endless list if I got going. But being awaited $8,000 in a lawsuit for putting up with one?
According to the Los Angeles Times recently, 52-year-old Jose Martinez got $8,000 after being stuck on the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland for half an hour when the ride broke down and was evacuated, with the music reportedly blaring the whole time, on November 27, 2007. Mr. Martinez was visiting Disneyland for the first time since he was a child, and, according to his lawyer, David Geffen, his disabilities “hit him hard and right in the face as soon as the ride stopped.”
Sure, it was Hell waiting for half an hour, especially with that damn song going on. But it wasn’t like there was a fire. It wasn’t like he was in danger.
How about getting free tickets or a free year pass from Disneyland? Once, when I took an Amtrak train to San Diego on my own to spend the weekend with a friend, as I had done a number of times, and my friend put me on the train for the return trip, he got into a big argument with the conductor, who insisted my friend had to accompany me on the two-and-a-half-hour trip. Luckily, my friend didn’t end up having to stay with me, but I was upset and traumatized, feeling insulted and made to be a burden. I wrote a letter to Amtrak and was given free tickets and was told that the conductor was disciplined. I was happy with this.
Why couldn’t something like this satisfy Mr. Martinez? Instead, he has become like the woman who sued McDonald’s over hot coffee and makes the disabled look like that. He makes the disabled look silly and greedy. He gives the disabled a bad name.
This doesn’t help now when there is much commentary and chatter about an increasing number of people getting disability benefits. Never mind that there are valid reason like more people living longer. There is the notion that disability is the new welfare. Like when Homer Simpson got on disability.
What’s more, things like this only make it harder and harder to get the services and funding I need to live independently and productively. Every year, it seems I have to submit more and more documentation to prove that I’m still disabled. I want to ask why they come and look at me and try to talk to me. And how nice it would be if I could say I’m no longer disabled!