Reader’s Forum – Week of December 9, 2013

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

Eric wrote:

Sandra, where on earth did you get the following: That Albert was disruptive? According to all 35 passengers on board the US Airways jet, the flight attendant lied. That Albert was disruptive? No, he requested a move to another seat?

I have to ask you another hypothetical question: If you were on the ground for 2 hours, and your dog was becoming uneasy, and your dog got up without warning, what would you do? Everybody knows there could be poor weather, engine trouble, or mechanical problems. The flight attendant, not Albert, was disruptive. Be retrained or be fired!

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Dennis wrote in response to Danieli:

I will get to work and insure that you will have Portuguese talking computer games. You see, a special friendship exists between us since we are both broadcasters! Merry New Year, Happy Christmas!

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Juliette wrote:

To Tammy and James and … anyone else: I hate the commercialism of the holidays! I’d love to spend them in another country, i.e., England, Spain or Greece, to see and feel the difference. By the way, if anyone wants a hoot, pick up Tom Waits CD Small Change and listen to his hysterical “step right up!” Enjoy and happy holidays!

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Lucia wrote:

I wish to comment on the subject of Mr.Albert Rizzi and the situation with the way the airline acted with respect to his guide dog. We don’t know that this gentleman became verbally abusive when he was asked to place his guide dog under the seat. How do we know this? We don’t!! We know the airline was verbally abusive. I always try to be pleasant. But this is a two-way street. If people are unpleasant, what do we do? Especially, when they are “in authority.” Sometimes, I just want to be in a box, or under a pillow.

Easy, easy, Sandra. How do we really know that? With reference to the guide dog situation on the plane, do we know for a fact that this Albert became “verbally abusive” with flight attendants? Life is unfair. I try to be pleasant, yet, four family members have turned against me. So I leave them. I try to be pleasant, but yet, the superintendent in our building has on 2 separate occasions, threatened me with eviction, if I go to the building for the blind. Hence, I don’t go. It’s a long story, and I tell anyone who will listen.

Naturally, flight attendants will (I don’t want to use a four-letter word like “lie”), so I’ll say that flight attendants will tell the story as they see it, but, the way I see it, life is unfair. A visually impaired or blind person, (Terri, I’m sorry I forgot again,) a vision-impaired or blind person, could be polite and courteous, gracious too, but a sighted person too, can “mess it up”. It’s not just us. As comedian Richard Pryor put it, “when they say “Justice” they mean, “just us.”

Yeah! David’s right! It only takes one ignorant driver, and a not-so-supportive passenger, right on, David! Say it loud!

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Albert Rizzi wrote:

Dear Ren,

In your weekly edition of December 2nd, there was a response from Sandra commenting on the unfortunate incident that happened upon me and my guide dog, and 35 other people on a US Airways flight on the evening of November 13th.

As supported by 35 independent witnesses, at no time, during the 1.5 hours we sat on the tarmac, did I ever become abusive or verbally argumentative with the flight attendant or the crew. Sandra seems to be intentionally blind to what the 35 other people, not just me, said happened that evening.

Additionally, Sandra implied that I did not take the time to self identify as a traveler using a guide dog. She is totally wrong about that. I self identify with every airline I travel with. I include the same in all my travel profiles, and the flight attendant and I met in the terminal prior to boarding. So everyone was well informed about my options for mobility. Sandra is sadly mistaken if she is attempting to discredit me in that manner. How Sandra has missed that point, made time and time again, in one interview after another, tells me she is not listening or wanting to listen to the facts as they are.

Sandra is intentionally not listening, as there never was a seat in front of me. I never had the tools to succeed at the task put before me by the ill mannered flight attendant. If Sandra was on the flight that night, knowing her as I do, I think she would have suffered the same outcome.

Oddly enough, many of the new found friends I now have because of that night asked why didn’t we just trade seats? Simply put, the tension imposed upon all of us that night, by the flight attendant, precluded any of us from considering even making a suggestion of that magnitude. I for one did not, because I did not even know that there were 7 other empty seats where I and Doxy could have sat comfortably and in a manner that was required of us.

Sandra, I have traveled no less than 10 times this year, and consider myself a seasoned traveler. Can you say the same? My experiences, traveling as I do, never prepared me for what I was exposed to that evening.

I try not to question or impose upon the authority of the flight attendants or crew. To that end, it is their call as to whether they want to recommend alternative seating, deviating from the manifest as prepared, well in advance of my getting on the plane, and addressing my travel profile as a handler who travels with his dog. Sandra is misinformed and in my opinion commenting without truly knowing the facts.

I am also in total disagreement about her take on how my standing up for myself, and having 35 other people stand up for our community, and handlers all over the world, could be interpreted as anything other than empowering and uplifting for the community. I feel my actions and the actions taken by the people on the flight that night, more than adequately represents the blind community positively.

I know I represent our community with pride, as evidenced by the national attention, both on radio and TV wherein a positive light on the blind community was cast, so much so, that the past Assistant Secretary of Labor, Neil Romano suggested I speak at the very first Airline Transportation Access Conference to be held on December 10th in DC. I doubt anyone who did not represent his community, and the disabled community positively and properly would have been asked to accept this national honor.

I read Ann’s article that Sandra was responding to, and nowhere in that piece did I read any of the outlandish points raised by Sandra. She seems to have read a totally different article, and I for one, would like to read what it is she was in fact commenting on.

Shame on you Sandra for allowing your misinterpretation of facts shared all around the globe to be skewed and twisted, and for the record, if the basket you refer to as being the one we all get lumped into, includes narrow minded perspectives like yours, than please put me in a box.

Thanks to the tens of thousands of people who are able to see the truth about that night and for not being intentionally blind about the facts as they have been presented.

And thanks to the Zeigler for asking people of all abilities to sign the petition started by the ACLU. Doxy and I wish all of you a Happy Holiday season. Peace.

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Betsy wrote:

I know young man who works at Google and he said that the self-driving cars are not allowed on side streets. He has never ridden in one but has kept up to date about them.

They are allowed on major interstates because there are no stop lights and people do not turn off except for exiting. I would be willing to try one of the cars. In my mind there is not a difference in riding in one of those cars and trusting my 14 year old to drive me on the interstate. I have been through two of them so far. My first one was 15 but the next two were 14. With the law here in Georgia I have to sit up front in the passenger seat.

My kids said they could tell when I finally felt comfortable with their driving as I would fall asleep. That took several months, though.


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