I mostly try to feed my kids fresh fish and vegetables from the neighboring fields, but every once in a while we go to McDonald’s. I took my daughter the other day, at her request, and was reminded once again, that the fast food restaurant is not accessible. Lilia, who is increasingly independent, wanted to wheel herself up the ramp, which is very narrow and goes behind some shrubs. Worse, the Happy Meal toy display is between the entrance and the wheelchair ramp, effectively blocking the way. Of course, the people there are very nice – customers and employees alike – and they always rush out to help me get Lilia in the door, but the issue here is indepedence.
During the meal, Lilia wheeled off to the bathroom. She’d been able to use the toilet at the Center for the Disabled all by herself and so she was feeling confident. But she couldn’t open the door by herself, and although there was a bar on the wall, the door to the stall was too narrow for her wheelchair.
It seemed as if McDonald’s had added these token features in order to comply with building codes, but they did nothing to improve accessibility. Not only is the environment unfriendly to wheelchair-bound customers, but also to potential employees with disabilities.
I may be wrong, but I don’t recall any wheelchair ramp at all at the McDonald’s we visit in South Carolina.
I suppose the message here is don’t eat at McDonald’s. I can see the wisdom in this; I know about transfat; I saw “Supersize Me.” But I see a wasted opportunity. Instead of trying to kick mothers out of the Ronald McDonald House for breastfeeding, McDonald’s could try to improve its corporate image by setting an example and creating a barrier-free space.