So, to continue about my adventures. I had walked on a bum knee and twisted ankle long enough. shooting pain in my legs forced me to limp up to a checkout counter for Alaska Airlines. The worker there was not busy but really stressed. He demanded to know if it was my flight, explaining he couldn’t order a wheelchair for my flight as I was on a different airline. I assured him I just wanted a wheel chair to get me back to the other side of the airport where my departure gate will be,
He seemed relieved and told me to have a seat and he would call the wheelchair service. The wheelchair service person arrived within 5 minutes. He chatted with me as he pushed me towards my departure gate. He asked if I was ok, and about my injury. Not invasive, just conversational. He used to work for United he said, but since they hired another wheelchair service he found a job with another area of the airport. He felt out of place returning to United area as it had been months since he had walked in that area. Since the wheelchair did not belong to the area, he helped me into a seat near the agent counter.
After about an hour, I realized I needed the service again. I had to hobble to the agent counter. The agent was helpful and was concerned that I was trying to board the current flight as they were booked to capacity. I assured her that my flight was in the morning but I would like a wheelchair now as I needed to get around.
The United wheelchair service woman was quite helpful. She pushed me into the restroom. Let me climb onto the seat and waited outside with the chair. I used the support bars with full intention of acting as my legs were not strong so I could sense what it was like to be entirely dependent on your arms for mobility. After which, she wheeled me to the sink. A lady cut in front of me at the sink, then she kept looking back and smiling a big smile. She talked to me as if I had a mental disability. And she cut me off at the towel dispenser, after drying her own hands, she handed me two towels. I think she thought she was being helpful. I found it annoying, but I told her thank you as she handed me the towels.
I then with the help of the wheelchair service woman, whose name was on a name tag which was hidden by her lapel. I went to buy dinner.
Oh another disability I have is the inability to see so many feet away. So, menu boards placed above the counter are useless to me without my glasses. So, I asked the server what they have. And after they scrambled to locate a menu, coming up with only a Spanish menu. I told the ladies I can read Spanish, they still said, no, they don’t want to complicate it for me. So I finally just said I will take the standard cheeseburger and fries and a soda. Not my first choice but I couldn’t read the menu.
I was then wheeled back to my departure gate. During which the conversation turned to how long I was going to be in the airport. I was told that the service would stop after the last plane for the evening which would be 2 am or roundabouts. So, I asked for one I could wheel myself. She left me at the gate and went in search of a self-propelled wheelchair.
She found one, it belonged to Southwest. She said that she had talked to her boss and they had agreed that due to my circumstances they could provide the Southwest wheelchair and if I ran into any conflicts, I was to have them call the supervisor.
Stay tuned, I will discuss my experiences in a self-propelled wheelchair at the Portland, Oregon, International Airport;