Joe and I went into a grocery store on the way home from work and zipped around enjoying ourselves. After a trip away, this kind of ordinary thing signals in a meaningful way that we are home. We got a fair lot of groceries and went to find a check out and found, again, that the two express (8 or less) were accessible but that none of the others were.

Tired of this king of thing, I just decided that accessibility trumped the 8. We went to get in line. The woman saw me and the cart and said, “Go over to four.” I told her I couldn’t be served at 4. She loudly demands and points across the store to aisle 4. I told her again I couldn’t go there, I said that I needed an accessible aisle to get my groceries. She looked at me with disgust and in that moment I knew this wasn’t a barrier issue with the store, even if that’s how this started, her face was the face of bigotry. She had no intention of serving someone like me at her till.

Another clerk comes along, opens the other express aisle which is also the only other accessible aisle, and she serves us quickly, efficiently and in a friendly manner. I mentioned to her what happened and she said that she had just come along and seen that there had been an incident and that she just wanted to fix it. I asked to speak to the store manager.

We’ve spoke before.

He’s made promises before.

Why do I bother?

But I do.

He had taken the concerns I’d raised to a meeting.

Rah him.

I left.

All of the stuff about the physical barriers and the discussion abut making it possible for disabled people to shop, seriously, still talking about really basic, simple rights, was finished with in my head.

But her face.

The one who denied me service.

The look of hatred she had on her face.

The look of outright prejudice.

Stays with me.

That she felt free to do that scares me. That her hatred had been somehow legitimized. That she didn’t worry for a second about the fact that she was doing a job serving the public and my complaint about her behaivour had been made.

She felt safe there.

Which means that disabled people are not.

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