Shop experiment

grampa dan

New Member
One of our part time helpers is studying kenesiology (sports medicine) in university. For one of her classes Sarah has to spend 12 hours in a wheelchair. I insisted she do part of that time in our shop, but on the condition she not cheat if at all possible. My request was for two reasons. First I wanted her to realize how hard she works here at our place and how being physically fit and mobile allows that. Secondly it was a test for our shop and just how accessible it was - or wasn't.


A few things became immediately obvious. My office, up five stairs was an immediate problem. Our staff bathroom, with a 30" door and small floor area also proved to be a challenge. The workshop is busy right now, with it being hard to walk a straight line between projects. With a wheelchair it was impossible. We had to do a little rearranging to make it workable.

Every task immediately took longer. Sarah had to plan every trip, back into places like the sink to wash her hands. One of her tasks today was to clean the fridge... and to do so had to get out of the chair and onto the ground. Things high or low proved an instant challenge.

It's going to be an interesting day.

-grampa dan


New Member
kudos to you for providing your shop for the experiment. Sounds like you both learned from the experience.

surf city

New Member
Cool, experiment Dan. Having restrictions is a difficult thing, I know first hand what it's like to have to use a walker and or a cane or wheelchair.


New Member
When I broke my foot 5 years ago, I got back from the er & I remember thinking, darn... Crutches will slow me down a little. Well, I soon noticed I couldn't even walk out of Starbucks with a coffee... Needless to say there were more consequences then simply being slowed down... good to be reminded the value of good health!


New Member
so much to learn when you walk in someone else's shoes for a day.

as part of my son's final in his second year of sign language... he had to spend an entire day, from the moment he woke till he went to sleep, wearing super sound deafening earplugs and only allowed to communicate using sign language or a note pad that he carried with him.

students had to also go in pairs (one acting as the interrupter) out shopping and to a restaurant.

so many great lesson for him... from frustration and isolation to human kindness.


New Member
Some professional positions have been almost impossible to do in the past with physical or mental disabilities, but with technology, we're quickly closing the gap. Please take a second to check-out what Honda has introduced to help with mobility. Here's the link (copy and past it into your browser. It's AWESOME!!!!) I've never seen anything like this (think Segway on steroids!)


About 12 years ago while I was getting ready for work, my wife told me she couldn't see right out of her one eye, I called off & took her to the eye Dr. they sent us right up to Allegheny General & the Dr. told her she will not see with that eye again & there is no treatment or cure at this time, he also mentioned she had a good chance of losing the other eye. Three years later, the other eye stopped working, She went from being a newspaper reporter riding around in golf carts with Mario Lemieux & Jerome Bettis, hanging out with Myron Cope etc, to someone who couldn't drive to the corner for a loaf of bread, or read a label on medicine, find a splinter in her hand & countless other obstacles you could only imagine, The last 10 years have been quite a learning experience for me, she is the bravest, smartest & (most beautiful) woman I know. When I married her 25 years ago I never dreamed we would have had to embark on any type of journey such as this. We have adapted our lives & have made the best of it, but I can tell you first hand, the suffering a person that has a handicap is ongoing & brutal, something us with good health could only imagine. Hats off to the University for having the young people open up to the hardships of disabled people. It is a lesson I hope they will never have to face in life.


New Member
Excellent post Dan! One just doesn't have a clue until the day comes when they are immobilized or disabled in any form.

In 2002 I flipped off of a ladder (had popped my head up into an attic opening
that was full of rodent fumes and went out like a light) Oh my!

After spending a year learning how to walk again and major physical therapy it took another 3 years physically just to get back to work. All of this with no income or help.

I learned a lot from this down time:
#1 was that one cannot always count on family and living by oneself while enduring this
is very difficult
#2 was that one cannot always count on the people you've helped over the years
#3 using a walker is the most difficult thing one can use because you can't carry
anything, can't put anything in your lap, even though you have your arms - they are of
little use because they're holding you upright on the walker. Loosing balance on a walker
is easy.
#4 a wheelchair wouldn't work with a leg or legs outstretched and cramming into a wall or work table with that leg hurt like hell. Doc took it away. Who has work tables that are clutter free underneath of them
#5 the amount of pain one goes through in other parts of their body because of being
immobile is awful
#6 your business is 'going to suffer' whether you like it or not
#7 PATIENCE - very difficult way to learn patience

I recommend any shop to put a wheel chair or a walker in it and try it for part of a day
with no cheating. The little things we do will become huge obstacles. Major eye opening experience.

And - double check when pulling out of a parking space that someone who is disabled
is not in your 'blind spot'.

I had a similar "enlightening experience" this year. In June I had back surgery, had to have a 2 level fusion. Could not walk unassisted (walker) for a month and needed help getting in and out of bed, not to mention going to the bathroom. Living in a 3 level house was hell during that time. Totally opened my eyes about people with disabilities.


Premium Subscriber
Very good post.

Our shop, I can honestly say is ADA compliant. We have wheelchair access for the building as well as our sidewalks. Our doorways and everything else is totally accessible.

Our main problem is..... we get busy and then we get sloppy and things don't always go back to their designated spots.... sometimes for a very long time. Also, crap on the floor like a slippery piece of backing or some other source, but that could all be taken care of with some self obedience training. A wheelchair, deaf person and most any handicap is doable in our shop. However, eyes, like with Main... that we couldn't help but have to turn away. I guess sight is probably one of the main factors in this industry.

Main..... I'm sorry to hear that about your wife. And special kudos to you for finding the ways to make it work for the both of you. You must love her very much. :U Rock:

My mother-in-law was blind and a double amputee. She lived with us for her remaining years, so our house is also completely compliant for most handicaps. I remember those days. :thumb: