by Larry Johnson
If we are successful in advocating for a particular restaurant to finally provide its menus in braille or large print, and then we fail to frequent that restaurant, or when we go in we turn down the offer of the braille menu from the owner and ask a sighted friend to read it to us instead, what is he to think?
If ACB's negotiating team of lawyers is successful in persuading a bank or credit card company to understand that blind people have a legal right to receive their monthly statements in braille, but then we opt for getting the information via telephone or the computer, what is that bank or credit company to think?
If movie theater operators equip their theaters with assistive listening devices and order films with audio description, but no blind patrons ever show up to use them, what are they to think?
If city governments spend hundreds of thousands of dollars installing accessible pedestrian signals at busy intersections to make it safer for visually impaired pedestrian to travel, but blind people instead prefer to use door-to-door paratransit service, what are they to think?
If we demand that all voting sites must have at least one functioning, talking voting machine to allow a blind citizen to exercise his/her right to vote in private, but then we don't bother going to the polls, what are they to think?
As blind or visually impaired individuals, we have an obligation and a responsibility to demonstrate to private business and to the general public that we will use those special accommodations which we have requested/demanded. If we want more braille, we should use the braille that is offered. If we want movie theaters with ALDs, we should frequent those theaters which have them. Patronizing those businesses which offer special accommodations – banks with talking ATMs, restaurants with braille and large-print menus, pharmacies which offer talking labels on prescription medications – is the best way to say thank you and to encourage them to do more.