Dear Editor,

Until you have experienced the pain of having a loved one in a wheelchair you have no clue as to the problems that society presents.

The “American Disability Act” was supposed to provide access to all public places for use by a debilitated person in a wheelchair. What this means to most establishments is that we put up one wheelchair parking sign, and we have complied with the law.

Wow, walk in our shoes for a day and find out just how meaningless that is. To start with an electric wheelchair weighs approximately 250 pounds plus the passenger weight. You cannot tilt this chair to go over a curb or step. So you must find a ramp or dirt easement at the end or back of the establishment to just enter.

Some places have provided a ramp to get over the curb. Others say “we were in business before the law was passed and we are grandfathered in, and do not have to put in a ramp." In other words we don't want your business and don't come back.

The ramps are great if only people would not park in front of them. If it is not blocked when you enter, it will almost always be blocked when you exit. Often it is blocked by someone who has a wheelchair Placard but is not in a wheelchair.

The next problem is encountered after you enter their premises. In order to accommodate more tables or more racks the isles are almost non existent. You have to constantly ask people to move their chairs so you can get to or from a table.

Stores that do not have wide aisles you just have to put on your avoidance list.

Bathrooms are an even larger problem. The doors are not wide enough, there are no handicap bars, they are dirty and most establishments do not have family bathrooms where you help you spouse in private. A whole article could be written on the lack of bathroom facilities for the handicapped.

PLEASE, if you are one of those healthy people who block the Handicap Ramp, think about how you would react if your loved one becomes wheelchair Bound.

Keith Jones

Grove