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Some Closure to Karen’s Dial-A-Ride Disaster

July 18, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

We have finally arrived at some closure to Karen’s Dial-A-Ride disaster in which she was made late to work twice in one week by our metro area’s paratransit service. The following actions were taken:

  • An overall emphasis will be placed on arrival times for appointments rather than on pick up times.
  • Karen’s appointment time to arrive at work has been changed from 7:50 to 7:40.
  • Dial-A-Ride tickets have just been mailed to Karen as a show of accountability and compensation for the hardships resulting from her being dropped off at work 15 minutes past the beginning of her scheduled shift.

While many might feel that our advocacy approaches are a bit extreme and “go overboard” at times, it has been our experience that, without insistent advocacy, the right things just don’t get done. Most people simply can’t be trusted to take proactive action to right a wrong, even when it is staring them directly in the face. We must strenuously do all we can to minimize the negative consequences piled upon us by the harmful actions or inactions of those who are in positions to care about what happens to us but choose not to take those responsibilities seriously. Karen and I asked that steps be taken to avoid future “late to work” incidents. System wide emphasis on arrival times and adjustment of Karen’s appointment time by ten minutes may represent positive progress. She hasn’t been late to work since the July 7 incident. We hope and expect this positive change to continue well into the future. We shouldn’t be made late to work more often than our sighted peers. The mailing of tickets to Karen should represent a sincere apology for the incidents, a show of accountability, recognition that placing a person with a disability in a harmful situation without taking prompt corrective action is wrong and compensation for the hardships caused by the hit on Karen’s work attendance record and the impression it may leave on her coworkers and management. We are quite confident that none of the positive results would have been achieved had we not taken quick, persistent action to absolutely insist on the right thing being done. Such extreme advocacy can be challenging, stressful and, perhaps, even hazardous to one’s health at times, but, it absolutely must be undertaken if we are to insure our ability to productively participate in society as full human beings and first class citizens. As the late Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, past departed leader of the National Federation of the Blind, has stated many times, “We want no strife or
confrontation, but we will do what we have to do.” We thank you, our families, friends, listeners and readers, for your moral support.

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