In all of my years I’ve never felt so embarrassed and humiliated as I did today doing a wheelchair accessibility review of the Swansea Mall. But before I tell you about our dreadful experience let me first tell you about our wheelchair accessibility review of the Swansea Mall.
There are two main entry doors, one leading into a foyer and the other leading into the mall. Both doors are wide and sliding automatic doors which are my favorite kind of automatic doors. The Swansea Mall is all one level so you don’t have to worry where the elevators are located. You will encounter some steps but you’ll always find a wheelchair accessible ramp by the steps. Today, the food court was very crowded but there was plenty of room for me to maneuver my wheelchair around the there were plenty of tables. The table height was good for my wheelchair. The restrooms are located near the food court which are very wheelchair accessible and have all the ADA requirements.
Now let me tell you about our humiliating experience. After we were exiting the mall I realized that we forgot to take a picture of the food court and tables. Tony, my friend offered to go back into the mall to the take pictures while my friend Kevin and I waited in the van. Tony took a very long time coming back to the van and then we saw him being escorted by a security officer. Well, Tony told us this security officer approached him and asked what was he doing taking pictures? Tony told him that the pictures are for my website and we were doing a wheelchair accessibility review of Swansea Mall.
The security officer told him that the pictures were not allowed due to the mall being private property and because of copyright issues. The security office also told Tony that recently they had an experience with terrorists taking pictures at the mall and the terrorist was expedited. The security officer then asked Tony to go with him to the office to speak with the head security officer for they needed to gather some information and delete the pictures from my camera. Tony told security he was in a rush and offered to delete all the pictures then and there. The security officer called Deborah Gagnon, head of security and she insisted that the security officer take Tony to her office. She questioned Tony and asked him why he was taking pictures and he told her it was for a wheelchair accessibility review for ‘The Traveling Wheelchair’ website. He also explained the website is to help other disabled know what places are accessible and what places are not.
Deborah insisted that Tony delete all the pictures we had taken of the automatic doors and ramps in the mall. He told me that she looked over his shoulders to make sure they were all deleted. She then asked to see a business card which he didn’t have with him so the security officer and Tony walked outside to the van to get a business card.
Tony introduced me to the security officer. We went to pull out a business card from my backpack and realized we didn’t have any with us. Tony pointed out that my backpack had “The Traveling Wheelchair” by Kenny and Company embroided on it yet the security officer obviously didn’t believe us for he took out a piece of paper and wrote the license number of our van on it before he let us go. He also told us that we were not to take any pictures of the outside of the mall.
Normally, I would have given the Swansea Mall Five Stars for wheelchair accessibility. I’ve decided to give the Swansea Mall ZERO STARS because the security officer and Deborah treated my friends and I like we were criminals or terrorists with no sensitivity or respect whatsoever. I’m sure Security Office at Swansea Mall has Internet access and it would have only taken a quick minute to look up ‘The Traveling Wheelchair’ website to realize that we were all telling the truth.