Diva for Hire

by Bethany A. Hoppe

There are 48.9 million Americans with disabilities - that is 1 in 5 people has a disability.  Of those...1 million are wheelchair users.  For every 250 people, there is a wheelie person.  October is Disability Awareness Month, with an emphasis on Employment. Jobs.  Job-jobs.

Have you ever noticed that one of the first things humans tend to ask one another upon initially meeting, is "So....what do you do?"  

In real conversation, that is a total downer.  But it is animal habit, just the same, to try and find something in common with our conversation partner during happy hour beyond the obvious weather.  Sometimes, this code of conduct gets skipped over in my personal encounters, and heads right to the "So....what's wrong with you?"

I wish-wish-wish I could toss out on the card table snarky answers to some of the inquiries:

"Were you born that way?"
"Hell, no!  I was hatched."

"What happened when you were born?"
"The stork crash-landed...it was like...bad."

Don't Break my Legs...Handle with Care!

by Jenny Addis

In the beginning of the year, I had the opportunity to fly out to Faulkton, South Dakota for business. Along the way, I ran into a major obstacle: the airline damaged my power wheelchair. Due to this unfortunate event, I discovered some disturbing information that I’m sharing with our mobileWOMEN readers in my "Don't Break my Legs...Handle with Care!" campaign.

I travel frequently and yet, each time I take to the skies, I realize there is a possibility that something may happen to my wheelchair. Nonetheless, I cannot allow that fear to prevent me from flying. In 1997, at the age of 24, a tragic drunk driving accident left me paralyzed from the chest down, stripping away my independence, livelihood, and career. It took time, but eventually I became focused on taking my unfortunate experience and turning it into something positive by beginning a new career. At this point, traveling became a necessity in my life, career and overall independence. Now when I get on an airplane, I only hope that my wheelchair arrives back on the jetway in one piece, wherever my destination is that day.

On this occasion, we landed back in Minneapolis and, as I was waiting on the airplane for the personnel to bring my wheelchair up from stowage, I realized that it was taking quite a long time. Long waits in the past were never a good sign.