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Why I Can't 'Just Call a Cab' as a Wheelchair User

I was forced to find my own way home yet again recently, after waiting for over an hour for a wheelchair taxi that I was told would take 20-30 minutes to arrive. Granted, it was Halloween night, and I expected it to be longer than normal. However, it was four o’clock in the afternoon and the kids weren’t even out yet, let alone the adults.

This happens all the time. First of all, it takes longer for a wheelchair cab to arrive than it does for a regular cab. Secondly, the cab often arrives later than I’m told it will. Why? Because wheelchair taxis are also being booked for able-bodied passengers. So as is typical for people with disabilities, I must wait while someone who already has more advantages gets to use my accessible option.

How is this fair? I pay the exact same price for the exact same service. I don’t take up any more room. I’m relegated to the very back of the vehicle, where it’s usually colder/hotter than the rest of the car, where the view is terrible, where I must shout to be heard, and where the driver sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Why can’t I get the same swift and efficient service as everyone else? Why is it assumed I will be extra patient and accommodating just because I’m in a wheelchair?

I’m sick of being an afterthought, a “fit in,” an inconvenience, a Tetris piece on the game board of life. I want to be planned for, foreseen, expected and accommodated. I want to enter a clothing store without knocking half the clothes off the racks,  get on a bus without enduring sighs and dirty looks from people that have to move, and go to an event without coordinators scrambling to find a place for me. And I want a damn taxi within 20 minutes of calling.

This is not too much to ask, is it? I’m not asking for any more than what the average person simply expects without thinking or having to ask. And I’m not going to apologize for not being patient and accommodating just because I’m in a wheelchair.

This story originally appeared on A Day in the Life.

Getty image by batuhanozdel.

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