Inaccessible handicap access

I went to a bar in Flint called Churchill’s last night. After a couple beers, I was surprised to find out that their restrooms (including the handicap-accessible stalls) are located upstairs, which the only way to get to was to walk up a set of stairs.

Now this makes perfect sense, does it not? A handicap accessible restroom, which can only be reached by way of stairs. When I talked to management, I was informed that no one had ever complained before, as anyone who had been in a wheelchair who had needed to get to the restroom had simply been carried up the stairs to the restroom.

When I told him that this was totally unacceptable to me and I was planning on writing a complaint to the owner, the manager told me that they did have an elevator, but he wasn’t supposed to let non-employees use it; however, he would let me use it this time.

What the hell? Ok, the handicap restroom is upstairs and a patron can only get there by way of stairs. But they DO have an elevator, but no one can use it. And no one ever balked at the idea of being carried up a flight of stairs in their wheelchair before me? That is baffling. I asked the manager, “would you want to be carried like a baby up and down some stairs every time you had to piss?”
He said “no man, I wouldn’t.” And I said, “well neither would I man, neither would I.”

(btw, I still wrote that complaint to the owner)

And yet, the drive-thru lanes at many fast food joints have Braille on those big outside menus! So you can see, they are at least trying to think about accessibility.

Here’s a snarky thought, but I just might mean it seriously: Can’t get up the stairs to pee? Drop your pants and pee right there in front of the manager, right there in front of everybody! You can only feel embarrassed and humiliated as you CHOOSE to let yourself feel! Do this, proudly and bravely right in front of everybody, and trust me, it’s THEM who’s going to be embarrassed and humiliated, not YOU! (Think about that for a while.)

Mind you, you need to pull down your pants (or hike up your skirt), drop your undies, expose your bare-nekkid peeing body parts for all to see while you do your business. Doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. Peeing in your pants in your chair won’t do at all. The idea here is to create MAXIMAL embarrassment and humiliation. There’s a fundamental physical Law of Conservation of Embarrassment and Humiliation working here, and if you simply CHOOSE to REFUSE to let it be YOU, trust me, it WILL be THEM!

(To be sure, it seems easy to suggest this to someone else. I’m not handicapped and I’ve never had an occasion to need such a strategy. But I’ve often wondered if I would really have the gall, if they ever want to strip-search me at the airport, to demand that they do it right out there in front of the everybody!)

Of course, once the Manager offered to let you use an elevator – any elevator – the all the above is entirely negated, so your experience that day might not have been your best chance to give this a try. Presumably, you won’t be going THERE again, but keep this in mind next time something like this happens to you.

– Senegoid

So basically the problem is that the owner of the place hired a mentally handicapped manager, and you don’t like that?

Presumably this is the restaurant in question?

I think you have a legitimate complaint. But I can kinda see their side, it can be total hell to refit older buildings like that to make them ADA compliant. The workable solution seems fairly obvious, allow wheelchair access to the elevator, even if the other patrons aren’t allowed to use it.

I hope your complaint finds receptive ears.


I had a snarkilicious response, but it’s not necessary. Just complain to the agency in charge, and have them allow wheelchair access to the elevator as a matter of policy.


Well yeah, of course, but I’m just amazed that this hasn’t been done before. I am amazed that others would be content with being carried up and down a flight of stairs every time a trip to the restroom was needed.

Yep, that’s it. And yes, the solution seems extremely obvious. Just let those who cannot use the stairs use the elevator. This seems much more practical (not to mention respectful) than carrying them up the stairs; especially if that person is accompanied by a wheelchair.

I would assume that that answer was bullshit, and you were the first to express displeasure, at least to this particular manager.


No all handicap people are in wheelchairs, either. After 3 back surgeries and an upcoming knee replacement my g/f can walk short distances but no way in hell could she walk up a flight of stairs.

Just today we ate lunch at the new Indianapolis Colts Grille. In order to enter the restaurant from the street level, we had to climb a short flight of stairs (7 steps or so). She almost didn’t make it. There is a lift available but it’s only used by management. So instead of standing awkwardly in the entrance waiting for a friggin manager, she tried to navigate the stairs but with extreme pain.

Being a 37-year-old gimp is embarrassing enough without having to have “special accomodations” like being carried upstairs to pee.

Oh man, why not shit on yourself just to make a point while you’re at it?

That is why I was careful to say “anyone who cannot use the stairs” should be able to use the elevator.

You aren’t the first to suggest such a rebellious act. :rolleyes: trust me.

But there are some positional obstacles to making such an inspirational idea in fact reality. See, I’m sitting in my chair. When people pee, they are typically in one of two positions; either standing up (where your legs have clearance from any path of the urine) or sitting down on a toilet (where the stream of urine goes directly into the toilet). If I were to pee while sitting in my chair, I’d end up peeing all over my lap, legs and feet (not to mention the cushion I sit on and the wheelchair itself).

So the only humiliated one would be me. Plus I’d have a bunch of pissy clothes to change and a wheelchair to scrub. But other than that, it sounds like you gave this some thought.

I am absolutely positive that this wasn’t the first complaint. I’m also sure that given this dismissive bullshit response, the people who had to be carried (because they were in urgent need and the restaurant illegally treated them like crap) simply refused to return to this hellhole and didn’t think too much about it, because why fight for access at a place that has no problem treating people in this fashion?

I’m sure that this was their way of placating you, and trying to turn the complaint around on you. “Why can’t you be cooperative like everyone else.” That’s the way access complaints go; you’re either ignored, outright denied, or treated like you’re the problem for not being willing to do ridiculous things, like being carried as if a child, to make up for other people’s failures.

Narc on them. They have a perfectly usable elevator that they refuse to let disabled use, instead they essentially embarrass the hell out of them [I for one would hate being hauled up the stairs like a baby] not to mention actually putting them in danger. If they drop me, who is responsible for paying my hospitalization, any physio and any continuing health issues that would result if I am not killed in the fall? If I die, who is responsible for the accidental manslaughter? Would the 2 kitchen monkeys tasked with hauling my fat ass up the stairs go to jail for killing me? Injuring me?

Oddly enough, there are OSHA guidelines about how much a person can lift in the course of a job, and half of my 300 pounds sure as hell is not it. I might also point out that in ever instance of the guidelines for nursing home and medical care facilities wheelchairs are never hauled upstairs with patients in them. Moving patients is a very short distance evolution [bathing, toileting, transferring into and out of beds, stretchers, wheelchairs and recliners.] In no way is hauling a patient and a chair up or down stairs included.

Slight hijack -

You are talking about Flint, right?

It’s kinda like the movie Chinatown, where at the end the one cop says to the hero, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Meaning - in one interpretation - you have to lower your expectation considerably there.

I’ve found that it’s a fairly universal attitude there in Flint that half-assed is good enough, and if it breaks it stays broken. 'Cause it’s Flint, y’know, it’ll never get better.

So, the reaction of the manager of Churchill’s doesn’t surprise me one bit.

The problem with being carried isn’t necessarily just being treated like a child. It means that disabled people either have to always travel with friends who are willing to carry them, or trust their bodies to strangers, who are often clueless but helpful jackasses. (Sometimes they are not jackasses, and rarely they are helpful and even have a clue.)

This is what customer reviews are for. Especially if you don’t get a satisfactory response from the owner.

While it may have been the policy before that no one was allowed to use the elevator except employees before, I’ll bet the new policy requires the manager to let someone use the elevator to go to the handicapped bathroom. Probably all because of your letter.

Congrats Jamie, you finally handled one of these situations like a grown-up. But did you really need to start another thread about your handicapable adventures?

Amazing. I wonder if it ever OCCURRED to them that maybe setting up a situation where a disabled person was CARRIED up the stairs might pose some liabilities in and of itself… as in what if someone slipped and you had a bunch of people falling down the stairs. Egad.

I’m glad you wrote the owners.