In a tiny community called Bonny Lake, WA., about 30 miles outside of Seattle, Brandi Hanvoid has been working at Wal-Mart as a greeter for the last 11 years. There is nothing so unusual about that; after all, Wal-Mart employs many people. However, Brandi was thrown from a car as a result of a car accident, causing her to have a traumatic brain injury. She loves her job as a greeter and it has been a major part of her life and a primary social outlet for her.
Speaking from my personal experience, it takes major planning to get somewhere on time and I live in a bigger city with nicer pavement than Bonny Lake. When one has to solely depend on the public paratransit system, as both Brandi and I do, wetter and colder whether makes it even more of a challenge to arrive on time. Yet, she cares so much about her job that she has traveled the four miles to Wal-Mart in her power chair when paratransit has been unable to take her to work. County roads are not in as good of shape as those in a city and much tougher to negotiate than city roads with any sort of mobility device. Wal-Mart gave her no accommodation. Suddenly, Wal-Mart fired her due to tardiness and absenteeism. This was not a new issue for her, so what changed? What caused Wal-Mart to let her go after 11 years?
This concerns me as I look for work and as others with disabilities try to work. We try very hard to accommodate the world around us. I wish this world would have a little more compassion!