Pancakes and Appreciation

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Sunday was one of the worst travel days I’ve had in a while. Flights were all on time, but the level of ignorance about service dogs was just all too apparent and made things difficult. Specifically, the attendant at the baggage counter on the curbside forced us to go inside and check in at the inside ticket counter. I hate the inside ticket counter. With the Disney lines that wind around, it’s difficult to navigate, but more than anything, it’s dangerous. Roller bags and doggy paws do not mix. When people are laden with all kinds of baggage, they’re not looking around for a dog. For me, it’s worth the $5 tip on the curb to not have to use the inside ticket counter. But, as the baggage handler curbside didn’t understand the law and the legal rights of service dog owners, he forced us inside. This is a direct violation of my civil rights. The man’s only excuse was, “I don’t wanna get in trouble…”


Now, I’m not someone who gets all up in arms about the ignorance of the public. I mean, we’re talking about people with jobs barely making minimum wage. Yet, when we got inside and got checked in, I told the counter attendant of the situation outdoors. She simply didn’t get it. So, I had to write a complaint letter. Grr. Writing complaint letters isn’t something I enjoy.


Okay, because I have a Seeing Eye dog and am constantly travelling, I probably run into a few more customer service issues than the normal person. I firmly believe that if you look for something to complain about, you’ll find it. And I don’t like to view the world through that kind of lens. I’d much rather look around and constantly be amazed at the good, the compassionate and the things that are right with the world. Just to keep from being dragged down into negativity, The Hottness and I have a rule: if we have to write a complaint letter, we find another business/person to write a letter of commendation. Finding this situation, fortunately, was way easy.


Two days in a row, we ate at the IHOP on Clayton Road across from the Galleria in St. Louis. This could speak to the proximity of the restaurant to our hotel…or it could speak to the Hotness’ love of cheesecake pancakes! Both days, we had the same waitress, a middle aged woman who just had the most awesome attitude and aura. She was a fantastic waitress and remembered our orders from the first day. Nice touch! The restaurant hostess also seated us at the same table both times; one that was really close to the front so we wouldn’t have to wind and weave through a really crowded bunch of diners. But, the most awesome thing we witnessed didn’t even have to do with us.


One of the breakfast eaters was a woman using her wheelchair. Visually (and according to mE) this woman had some profound disability. Her body was slumped, she seemed to have little control of her head and neck and was pushed by a full time caregiver. There was no way of knowing whether or not this woman had any type of cognitive disability.


Our waitress walked over to the woman using the chair, spoke directly to the woman and said, “Great to see you, Mary! Thanks for coming in! See ya next time!” This comment was directly spoken to the woman using the chair without addressing her caregiver.


Anyone who has any type of a physical disability has probably had a customer service rep address them as a child, or worse yet, turn their question to another person. My fav? When I’m having dinner with friends and a waitress might ask my wife or friends, “What does he want?”, pointing at me. Really? Really.


Okay, I’m off to write a complimentary letter to IHOP.


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  • Alexis

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the sensitivity that shows when someone speaks directly to an individual with a disability.

    In my job, I see students with all types of disabilities. When a parent or other caregiver is present, I direct all of my questions or comments to the student, not to the parent or caregiver. It’s not that I’m being rude, but I want the parent or caregiver to get the hint that the student is the one in control of his or her accommodations and services from our office.

    • MarcusEngel

      Absolutely! Love that way of handling it!

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