Ahead of the curve in Jacksonville
Unlike most customers, I rate an establishment, such as a restaurant, based on how current its ADA compliance is in the restroom. May sound crazy at first, but think about it. Do I want to develop a relationship with a business that cannot be there for me and my family at every point in our lives? If grandma comes to visit, I do not want to forgo our "favorite place" because she cannot get her wheelchair into the bathroom stall. Likewise, if my son breaks his leg during a ballgame, we would still like to meet up with the team after the game. How can I tell my son he cannot support his team because he will not be able to get into the restroom with his crutches?
Families, teams, groups of friends - we all develop a favorite hangout. That restaurant can depend on us as a steady revenue stream. I would like it to reciprocate by being able to depend on it at every stage of life. Those discretionary dollars I spend need to be reinvested into making sure the facility can handle anyone I bring with me, whatever their capacity.
Here is a tangible example of a restaurant being ahead of the curve:
So, not only is it clean, but it has something you may not have seen before - a vertical grab bar. This requirement was not included in the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code nor the 2010 ADA Standards. It is however, included in ICC A117.1 - 2009 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities by American National Standard (ANSI). Someone working for this restaurant is taking a proactive approach to accessibility. That is what makes me want to establish a long-term relationship with this business. Whoever I bring with me will find the restroom accessible. Who knows - that someone may be me. Disability is a minority that people can join at any point in life, even for a short time frame: such as recovering from surgery or an accident.
Now, did I whip out my tape measure and take measurements based on Figure 604.7 in ICC A117.1-2009? No, I was not in that place of business in my ADA consultant capacity.
My point to be taken here is that we need to take a moment and look around at the businesses we frequent. If there is a business who cannot accommodate us if we, or someone with us, is disabled,- then why is it patronized by us? Business as usual results in accommodations as usual. We should want more than that for our family and friends - for now and in the future.