Friday, March 28, 2008

Shame On YOU, Henry County, Georgia . . .

Just when I started to think "Hey, It's Friday - it HAS to be a good day!" one of my co-workers sent me this article that got my blood boiling.

It seems that the public bus system in Henry County has banned an obese man who is confined to a wheelchair because of an infection that followed knee surgery. The 65-year-old man, Henry Washington, has been using the bus for FIVE years and was recently taken, by bus, to the Henry County Recycling Center where his bus was weighed first with him and then without him.

A few days later Washington, who has NO other way to get around (he can't drive) was told he could no longer use the bus because his weight and wheelchair were too much of a strain on the hydraulic systems on the bus. The hyraulic lift system, by the way, is tested for up to 750 pounds and Washington and his chair weigh only 680 (I know 680 is not an "only" type of figure but it IS 70 pounds less than the limit of the lift).

So here is the thing that has me upset about this. It is a PUBLIC SERVICE to take the bus and the guy is NOT over the weight limit and I seriously doubt that if eight one hundred pound people got on the bus lift (I know eight people don't use a lift at the same time but hear my out), they would kick one of them off to get it under the 750 pound limit NOR do I think that, during peak hours of use, the bus drivers every pay attention to the weight of every person on the bus.

Nope - I'm SURE that it is because Washington is large and in a wheelchair (two reasons for the average person to stop and stare, I guess) that he was targeted and kicked off the bus.

I obviously would like to see Washington lose some weight (for his own health) and I don't ever want to see any one in a wheelchair for any reason but I think, in the meantime, to further limit his life and his ability to get around is just plain wrong. What message does it send to Washington and how CLEAR is it to the rest of the world that sizeism is alive and "well" - at least in Henry County, Georgia.

If you need a lift to get your errands run and to get your life moving, Mr. Washington, let me know. I'll help you figure out a way to get around. In the meantime, shame on you, Henry County.

No comments: