ON HAND: ADA aftereffects

This originally appeared in The Tactile Mind Weekly in Trudy’s ON HAND column.

Yup. The Americans with Disabilities Act is here to nip us in the bud.

Two weeks ago, a friend went to her eye doctor to get much-needed glasses. They told her they had tried to contact her, because the interpreter wasn’t able to appear. My friend wanted to go ahead with the exam without the interpreter, but the office refused. She was told she had to sign a waiver in advance and would have to reschedule. Never mind that she had to take time off from work for the appointment.

I called America Online last Friday and two different “customer care consultants” told me they weren’t allowed to take my relay call because there was a TTY number available. I protested, saying I preferred to use relay. No luck; I had to resort to the TTY line. Whoever answered the TTY number was manning several different TTYs at the same time, so responses were v-e-r-y delayed. The delay was almost worse than an answering machine, so I politely signed off. I called back later via relay, and insisted that I be allowed to use the voice line. Thankfully, the third “customer care consultant” relented.

One of my roommates broke her leg in college, and went to the emergency room in Washington, DC. The hospital refused to put a cast on her leg until an interpreter could be called. She was told to come back in 48 hours, and had a temporary splint put on her leg. True story.

Welcome to the aftereffects of ADA lawsuits.

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