I decided that I would apply for a US Passport just in case I want to travel out of the Country. The closet place in my area is the Taunton Post Office. My mom printed the application online for me to take to the post office and gave me my original Birth Certificate. I had my Official Massachusetts ID card with my picture that I obtained from the Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) which I was going to use as my Primary form of identification. I was told by the RMV that it is formal ID for disabled who don’t have a Driver’s License. My friends and I went to the Triple AAA place in Raynham , MA and I had my passport pictures taken. We then headed to the Taunton Post office located at the Taunton Green for it is the closest place where one can apply for a passport. We searched for handicap parking around the post office and were surprised to find none. We parked in a regular parking spot which had a limit of 15 minute parking only to find that the rear wheelchair entrance to van was blocked when we came out. The post office has many steps leading to main doors. We looked for a handicap entrance but saw none. Then we noticed a rear door which has a ramp so we assumed it was the wheelchair entrance. We went on the ramp and entered the rear door.
When we got inside we were at a back door which had a sign for visitors to ring the bell. We rung the bell and a woman postal worker came to the door. She didn’t look at me, she just looked at my friends and asked ‘What do you need…oh is it a passport you need”. We all said yes and she told us to wait. Then a male postal worker came to door. He also didn’t speak or look at me. He just spoke with my friends and asked if he (meaning me) was here for a passport. They said yes and he asked to see the paperwork we brought for he said he had to check we had everything we needed before he let us in. The postal worker looked at the paper work and told us that the Official Registry of Motor Vehicles Identification card was not considered a Primary ID and told us that I would need to bring three other forms of ID to submit with my birth certificate- i.e…..like a pay stub, student card, diploma, credit card, medical card, marriage certificate, year book with picture etc..My friends asked if a social security card was anther form of ID because they knew I had one..He said no, it wasn’t on the list. I told my friends that “I WAS BESIDE MYSELF” because I didn’t think I had the other forms of ID. I was injured at the age of eleven and never got a driver’s license or a diploma…..even though I had many years of private tutoring and feel as though I am a very intelligent person …just with physical/speech/communication difficulties.
We called my mom and told her we couldn’t get access into the Post Office. She was shocked as we were! I told her that I needed more ID and asked if she had other ID. My mom met us and brought my Baptism Record, my DMR Health Certificate, my Medical Insurance Card, my MA Health Card and a letter from Social Security Office with my name, address and social security number. We all went to the back door and again rang the doorbell.The male postal worker came down on a fright elevator, which was in the rear entrance we were standing and told us to wait a minute. It was a good 15 minutes we waited before he came to speak to us. In the meantime my mom called The Registry of Motor Vehicles and asked if my ID was valid and considered Primary. The woman she spoke with said she thought it was for it had an S before the number. She connected us to another department but we lost connection. Then my mom called Senator Marc Pacheco, our local State Senator who has always been very nice to me to explain the problem we were faced with at the Post Office. Senator Pacheco wasn’t in so she spoke with Charles, his very nice assistant. Charles is going to look into it.
My mom asked the postal worked why I couldn’t go upstairs like everyone else and she told him that everyone is supposed to have “Equal Access”. He told us that no one in wheelchairs are allowed upstairs for there is no access of an elevator. We pointed to the freight elevator and asked why we couldn’t use it but he said no one was allowed except for postal workers. He said in a very strong voice that “no one in wheelchairs have access to the Post Office”. We told him this is unfair and discrimination against the disabled and it needs to be changed! He told us it won’t ever change because the Post Office is a Historical Federal Building and doesn’t have to be accessible to the disabled!
My mom gave the postal worker the papers and he looked at them and asked us to come inside to do the paperwork. Well all the paper work was done in a very dingy, dirty storage room in the basement. I signed the form , using a card board box as a table. He said he was very sorry and told us that many other disabled have had same problem but nothing will ever be done. We told him we would try our hardest and contact our US Senator and Congressman to ask for the Post Office to be made Accessible to ALL.
The Taunton Post Office gets ZERO STARS. It’s hard to believe that in the year 2008 that not all Federal Buildings and US Post Offices are accessible to all. Everyone needs to use the Post Office at some time and “EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE TOTAL ACCESS TO THEIR LOCAL US POST OFFICE”