Making Steps a Little Easier

August 8, 2008 at 1:34 PM 2 comments

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful summer morning in Winnetka as I was making my way down the stairs to the platform of my  local train station. Years ago, the railroad lowered several local stations below street level to eliminate the problem of trains hitting passengers.
After the Americans with Disabilities Act was put in force, the railroad built elevators so that people with mobility issues could get to the platforms without having to navigate the stairs.  But as of yesterday, one of the elevators did not work.  I noticed a woman with a bike attempting to get down to the trails that run along the tracks.  She tried the elevator, got no response and then bumped her bike down three flights of stairs.  Not a big deal for her, but it could be for a person in a wheelchair or with limited mobility. 
When I got off at Lake Bluff there was another woman with a walker who needed the special powered platforms that lower people down to enter and exist the train.  The conductor took his time in assisting her and I noticed a smile when she wheeled by on her morning trip .
Perhaps some of us, like me, take mobility for granted. Today I stopped to get my jumbo cup of Joe from Dunkin Donuts across the street.  The man in front of me was in a wheelchair.  I was impressed with his skill in navigating his way through the crowd of people seeking caffeine and/or sugar.  He gracefully wheeled into position beside the drink’s cooler door.  Wouldn’t you know it … the beverage he wanted was just an inch beyond his reach.  I stepped in.  He smiled when I handed him his Hawaiian Punch.
Like everyone else, I don’t often think about other’s daily struggles, mostly just my own.  But today I’m calling (and emailing just for good measure) the Union Pacific Railroad and complaining about the elevator that’s busted.  One small step for me, but it might make someone else’s “steps” just a little bit easier.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cyndi malzahn  |  October 3, 2008 at 2:55 PM

    This is so true. Many places have handicap access but they don’t think about the minute details going wrong. I praise them for trying but think of those that are just starting out and need everyone’s help!

  • 2. Handicap Accessible  |  May 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    I get the feeling some people feel awkward around persons in wheelchairs and so refrain from helping them when they clearly need help. Sometimes they don’t want or need help. But I still lend a hand and take a complaint or two. For me, it’s better to help, even if I don’t always get gratitude.


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August 2008


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