Solo Travel, Cross-Country Adventures, and Visual Impairments
I am home in Pennsylvania. It has been 12 days since I was delivered safely back to our local, regional airport. I made it!
Quite honestly, things went really well. My friend dropped me off at American Airlines departures in Denver. I got help checking in at the kiosk, and I checked my bag. From there I scooted 60 or 70 feet across the room where we “disabled” folks were gathered.
Disabled doesn't necessarily mean wheelchairs
There was actually a pretty brisk business going on at the disabled area. There was a gentleman taking names and directing the steady flow of wheelchairs coming and going.
Uh oh. Wheelchairs again. This time when I asked, however, I was told I could walk along as the assistant person pushed someone else. I happily talked that disabilities assistant person’s ear off as we walked along. Can you believe he came to Denver from Nigeria? Cool.
At the gate, I decided to get lunch. There was a burger place close by. I asked the lady behind the counter to read the menu to me because I am visually impaired, she put my order in and then came around to help me find a table and even got my soda!
Good grief, what a sweetheart! Don’t you know that I could get really used to this.
Back in Charlotte
In Charlotte, this time there was no one to gather me up. Maybe since I stood them up the first time, they decided to snub me? In all fairness, the woman at the gate did volunteer to call for someone. Instead, I opted to have her point me in the right direction and I set off. I knew what gate it was because I had signed up for text messages, remember?
After fortifying myself with a piece of pizza and a soda, I checked I was at the right gate. And, yes, I once again identified myself as visually impaired. After all, that declaration had been working pretty well for me! 🤓😜
This time they rounded me up and boarded me early. A flight attendant named Jodi (hi, Jodi!) - made an effort to check on all of her “disabled” passengers several times during the flight.
Back at our regional airport, it was rather late and pretty deserted. I followed the other passengers to the baggage claim area and grabbed the bag festoon with orange ribbon. Almost done.
Since it was too late for my husband to come after me I had booked a hotel. I called them and they said they were sending a van. Since I cannot read the lettering on vans, it was back to playing the “blind card”. The security guard told me when it was the van from my hotel.
The next day, my husband came to claim me. Mission accomplished.
In general, I believe my first, solo, cross-country trip as a legally blind person was successful. I am still in one piece and I was never really lost. The airline provided good service. Just like most, large corporations, it showed some variation across locations, but I still was cared for.
Did I play the blind card when necessary? Sure did. Sometimes I played it simply out of convenience. No sense adding more stress to already stressful travel.
People were GREAT! I was consistently treated with kindness and consideration. Some people - like the woman at the burger place - went crazy out of their way to be helpful.
All told, I think I might do it again! How about you?
"When my MD progresses, I experience ________"