Kentwood, Michigan bride-to-be, Stephanie Nash, went with her bridesmaids find the perfect dress at Kim Kriner’s Bridal Boutique. What she didn’t expect to find was a sign saying, “Our store is NOT wheelchair accessible… Thank you for your understanding.” Nash’s bridesmaid Stephanie Deible, who uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, says this is the most discrimination she has ever faced.
The girls didn’t let the sign stop them from entering the store, figuring the sign was not meant to be taken seriously. They were greeted by saleswoman Deborah Simmons, who told the girls she wasn’t sure if Deible could come in because of her wheelchair. The bride quickly told the saleswomen that they would go slow and be careful. Deible says, “They were completely in fear, I guess, that I would ruin the dresses trying to look at them and wheel around the store.”
It continues to puzzle many that it has been twenty-one years since the ADA has been passed, and yet there are still businesses that continue to be non-wheelchair accessible. Curt Benson, a professor at Cooley Law Schools, had this to say about the incident, “It’s 2011. Seriously, [you’re] gonna put up a sign saying we don’t want people in wheelchairs? It’s absurd. It really is absurd.”
The final humiliating blow from this business came when Deible was told not to bring her wheelchair into the dressing room. Simmons says, “We ask people to take their shoes off when they try on gowns. So, asking for the wheels not to be in there, too, I didn’t feel was going out of line. In my head, I didn’t feel like I was asking her anything that was out of the ordinary.”
However, a walking person does not lose their mobility when you ask them to take their shoes off. A person who is wheelchair mobile loses their mobility when you ask them to leave their wheelchair behind, and that is out of the ordinary.