It was a wild and wet day yesterday but we all wrapped up warm to brave the elements and had a day out nonetheless. The tide was higher than I have ever seen it and so the walk along the prom was exciting, until a cold wave filled my boots. Joshua laughed to see the sea so close.
We were not made to feel especially welcome in our choice of cafe for lunch. We parked Joshua’s wheelchair at the end of a long bench and the manager came running over to say that IF they got busy, he would be in the way there! She had no better suggestion where she would like him to sit so I asked if she would prefer us to leave? ‘Oh no’ she replied’ it’s just that if we get busy, we will have to decide what to do!’ Irritated I responded ‘ IF you get busy, you will just have to throw us out!!’
There was a long list of wheeled items that were excluded from the cafe – prams, pushchairs and mobility scooters- but wheelchairs were not listed. But they might as well have been if that is how she felt , but I suspect it would count as illegal discrimination. It was particularly unreasonable as it was a large room that they had chosen to furnish with long benches and pews which were not accessible to Joshua and as there was a large metal cage behind him which was more of an obstruction than he was.
If I had not felt so poorly and eager to warm my sore ears up, I would have left the cafe and sought another. But I will certainly not be returning and I am going to give them a poor review too. I do not know if Joshua could follow the conversation but I would have hated him to feel as unwelcome as we did. It was a classic case where she addressed us rather than the occupant of the wheelchair, making all kinds of assumptions about Joshua. My spikey hedgehog prickles were immediately on edge and needless to say, we left no tip.
How can hospitality providers in this day and age be so rude and discriminatory? Surely Joshua’s money is as good as anyone elses’s? We regularly take Joshua out to eat but if someone didn’t and they happened across this establishment, they would be put off going out again. I am used to restaurants making a positive fuss over Joshua and not the opposite. All that we can do is vote with our feet and spread the word about the cafe.