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Handicapped and Loving It

I had the pleasure of visiting our California talent and then flying to San Francisco to visit with a customer all in less than 48 hours. Lucky me, I got to go with one of our talent that recently broke enough bones in her foot that she needs crutches to get by.

Now let me tell you what it's like being handicapped traveling through airports, hotels, rental cars and restaurants.

First off, you don't even realize how many people are in wheelchairs or walk with canes to begin with. At the Los Angeles airport, there was a line of 10 wheelchairs waiting to get on the elevator. What takes mobile people minutes takes handicapped people five times longer.

You also don't realize the patience required to be handicapped and being able to maneuver the system. It's always first on and last off. First on the plane, last off the plane. First on the rental car bus, last off the rental car bus. And so it goes.

But here is what I really learned from all this. People are amazingly polite and caring to the point where you almost want to bring a set of crutches with you when you travel. The Northwest agent made sure the wheelchair was coming and "please be seated" in the meantime. Doors open "automatically." People  always willing to assist. I was almost invisible.

The best part of this story is when we returned our Hertz vehicle. I got out first and then "Mrs. Crutches" got out second. The Hertz guy saw Mrs. Crutches and immediately came to our car and told us to get back in and guess what? Yep, he drove our rental car to the airport and dropped us off at the terminal. Simply amazing.

In San Francisco, Mrs. Crutches limped onto the cable car. The fee was $1.50 and we only had a $5 bill and correct change was mandatory. The cable car operator waved us in and said don't worry about it. Are you kidding me? People stumbled over each other to make sure Mrs. Crutches could sit down.

So here's the thing. It's not easy being handicapped. But it's good to know the system is working and more important, people care. Now that's good.

And with that said, I was happy to leave Mrs. Crutches at the gate and run to my car. She was in good hands after all.

Happy Thursday!

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