bio_dave_hingsburgerI’m not writing this to ‘get back at’ anyone. I just need to tell the story in context to get your opinion on how a situation was handled.

Joe and I were coming back on Sunday from Vancouver Island and I’d made a reservation on a late afternoon boat. As we drove down island we noted that the boat was sold out and were pleased that we had made the reservation. When we showed up we discovered, to our horror, that we’d mistakenly reserved for Saturday not Sunday and were facing over a six hour wait, as the next boat was also sold out.

I was a bit panicked because I knew that by then my legs would be quite swollen and painful. We plan our travel, if at all possible to ensure that we aren’t overlong on the road. 10 to 12 hours is kind of a max for me. This wait would put us around 16 hours. I arranged to speak to someone at the ferry and when I did, I explained the situation. We’d made a mistake. I took responsibility for that. I explained why I was concerned with the wait.

Now, let me be clear. I was expecting that there was nothing that could be done. Even so, there’s no harm in asking.

The fellow we spoke to listened. He said that as we had made the error there was nothing he could do to help. OK, so far, so good, we expected that. Then, he did something I thought was odd.

He went on to say that he had the power to put us on the boat but just wasn’t going to. He gave an example of a fellow whose father was in the hospital in Vancouver and needed to get over. “I put him right on,” he said. Then, he said to us, “Well, there was no harm in you asking.” Which is what we thought too.

Then we watched him walk away.

Again, we were anticipating a ‘no’ and would have been okay with the ‘no’ but … the ‘I could if I wanted to but I don’t want to’ or the ‘the other guy deserved my compassion but you don’t’ thing really rankled me. It was like he wanted it to be clear that he had to power to help and the power to withhold help. Like he wanted us to know, for certain, that he was saying ‘no’ … that it wasn’t just the circumstance that we found ourselves in, that it was HIS DECISION that we would not be helped.

That annoyed both of us.

Say ‘no’ and be done with it. But don’t tell me that your ‘no’ is completely at your discretion and that you have said yes to more deserving others – and that you get to decide who deserving is.

Yep. It was my mistake in making the booking. I was unfamiliar with the website and should have been more careful particularly because I need to be responsible for my needs, I shouldn’t need to rely on the compassion or kindness of strangers. I don’t like playing the ‘disability card’ and really hated even asking.

In the end we got on the next boat so the wait was only 2.5 hours and we got in before I needed pain killers. Too, we met a wonderful woman at the ferry who tried to help us all she could and of course the staff on the boat, even though we got stuffed on at the tail end of the line up managed to park us so we could get both me and my chair out of the car. Overall I think the BC Ferries is pretty disability friendly.

But this guy and his ‘I can but won’t’ attitude annoyed me.

Would that have bothered you too??

Please be frank, but respectful, in your comments.