Friday, December 9, 2011

Blatant discrimination. I am so tired of it! (Warning, rant ahead)

Today I got my mom to help drive me to the license bureau to get my certificate of completion turned in for an actual driver's license.  I was on my own with my two boys there while waiting because my mom had to leave to make it to an appointment she had.  Well at first things were
going fairly well considering we were having to wait quite a long time and there were no chairs left.  David and Josh made me proud at how hard they were trying to stay calm and stay with me with little argument.  After a while though, the place was getting ready to close so the manager came out to try and help the ones still waiting, but she deliberately skipped me and my kids more than once.  As the chairs started to clear I pulled myself up off the floor I had been sitting on (I can't stand for a long time) and  directed my boys to a chair while I went to inquire if there were some accommodations available for disabled people as my boys were getting restless (Autism) and I was struggling with a leg that had gone out (Ehlers-Danlos). 

I was directed to go over and talk to the manager who had been ignoring me and deliberately passing me up when she came out earlier.  As I started to approach her, she called out to me asking if I was waiting for a ride or something and why I was still there.  I told her that no, I was waiting to get processed through so I could get my license and she quickly interupted me to ask why I was on the floor then.  I calmly but firmly told her that there were no chairs when I arrived and that it's not easy for me to get around and move so once I was on the floor I couldn't just "jump up" at a moments notice, but I was in the correct area for waiting for service and had been repeatedly overlooked so I was now seeking assistance so I could get done and get my kids (now crawling back and forth beneath all the chairs...) out of there and on the way home.

She then crankily directed me to sit in a chair near her desk and said she would help me as soon as she was done with the person already standing there.  At this point, Joshua had managed to get away and I had to go chase him down and David was still busy crawling back and forth underneath all the chairs and sort of stimming at the same time.  This of course was drawing plenty of attention, but there wasn't much I could do at the moment so I calmly explained to the other people waiting that were staring (and the couple that were asking about it) that my son was diagnosed Autistic and that my youngest was thought to have the same issues and they just have been waiting a very long time and were struggling to sit still now.  That pretty much took care of everyone's attitudes about the situation but the cranky manager who took every chance she had to shoot an insult at me and my boys.  Keep in mind, that the section I was in was nearing empty by now so neither David nor Joshua were really bothering anyone and the few that were at first upset about them crawling around were now all perfectly okay with the situation.  And yet the manager was still taking it upon herself to make sure my boys and I knew we weren't liked, wanted, or welcomed.  To be honest, if I didn't need my license so badly I probably would have just left.

When the time came for me to finally have my turn at the desk, I gave her my paperwork, handed her my ID and social security card and told her I was needing my license.  She looked at my paperwork (the certificate of completion from a state certified defensive driving school) and said it looked like I was going to be able to get in and out in just a few minutes.  All I had to do was answer the standard questions while she typed up my license for me and I would be good to go.  Well one of those questions was asking if I had any physical impairments or disabilities and if yes, what were they and what I have I done to accomodate them?  Well, I answered yes and then explained that I went through training for use with hand controls and have completed the course through a state certified instructor (as was already indicated on the paperwork I gave her).  As soon as I said that, she tried to claim that all my paperwork, practice time, documents, and certifications were useless and meaningless and she wasn't going to give me a license, but she would be happy to give me a learner's permit so I could start over again.  Keep in mind my instructor is STATE CERTIFIED (he's litterally the guy the state sends people to when they've gotten their license suspended/revoked or when disabled people are trying to re-learn to drive and he has to pass them before they're allowed to have a license again) and that my paperwork and certificate of completion was more than enough until I was honest about my disability and resulting hand controls training.

I told her that withholding a license from me and trying to throw out all my work, logged hours, and certifications simply because I admitted I wasn't perfectly able-bodied was discrimination and I wasn't going to just silently accept it and go on my way.  Well this caused quite a scene before it was all done as she made it clear, not only to me but also to everyone still standing there, that she didn't care and that she didn't respect me and that she wasn't going to help me period.  Even included a statement about how she wasn't obliged to help "my kind" (or as she put it "your" kind as she was directing the comment at me and my disabilities), but she figured she would be nice by offering me a learner's permit so I could start over.  I even got her to admit at one point that if I hadn't been honest about having a disability she would have given me my license right there on the spot, but now that she knew I was considered disabled and drove with hand controls there was nothing I could say or do that would make her give me my license.

At this point the boys were starting to get completely out of control and a couple people in the waiting area had taken it upon themselves to "help" because they were "trained" for autistic people.  In all reality, with the way they were treating my children, especially David, I would have honestly liked to find out who "trained" them and file a few complaints.  Let's just say grabbing David by his wrists and pulling up by them until he was practically hanging from them and then dragging him around like a puppet was the least of the crap they were putting my children through.  And every time I tried to intervene and get my children back, I was pulled back to the desk and told to leave it to them because they obviously were doing better with my kids than I could and I needed to pay attention to my license issue.  And of course as I objected to that crap, more insults were hurled at me and my kids and once again me and everone around me was made well aware that the manager viewed me as less than significant and little more than a nuisance. Grrrr....

At the realization of how long I am letting this story get, I'll sum it up with I eventually broke through, grabbed my kids back, came back to the desk and demanded to be shown some respect and be given my license or I was going to turn her and the entire department in for discrimination and uncalled for behavior and a couple more scene creating moments later I had my license in my hands and was walking out the door but was informed I would be getting officially challenged and forced to prove my ability and right to drive starting Monday.

Discrimination in it's most blatant form if you ask me.  All this because I admitted my kids and I had disabilities.

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