Monday, December 22, 2014

Are you with the wheelchair?...

Mr H is my legs as we reach airport security on our way to a wedding...

...with a wave of her arm, a suited lady directs fellow travellers to a queue to be scanned. She glances down at me, stripped of my coat, scarf, bags, belt, all metal objects except the plate in my head, then steals my smile as she asks Mr H

Are you with the wheelchair?

Aha. I had forgotten once I sit in a wheelchair I am a wheelchair!

 ...my journey with airport special assistance has begun... 



The smiling ground crew collect me from the gate and with fellow wheelchair users they escort us to lifts, then across the Tarmac to the aircraft ambulift which awaits us...




Yippee we all shout as the fridge like lift whirs us into the air to rest level with the closed aircraft's side door. Our entry into the warmth. Our man knocks. We wait. Tap tap. We wait, shivering in our coats. Knock knock knock...

Then out of our window we spot the able passengers beginning to snake their way out to the aircraft. We all know that they will now be allowed into the warmth before us even though we were there first.

Fifteen more shivering minutes pass with us suspended mid air in our ice cold, wind chilled, fridge. We watch with opened mouths as the aircraft is hooked onto the tug. I bang on the window and shout

wait for us

No one looks up!

Our man hammers loudly on the closed aircraft door. We wait. Knocks louder... then to squeals of teeth chartering relief the door is opened.

Do we get an apology? Not on your life!

When we land we are told to stay seated so the able bodied passengers can get off first. They climb aboard a waiting warm cosy bus to be transported from the aircraft to the airport terminal. 

At last we are ambulifted onto the Tarmac only to become a three carriage train: Mr H is my driver, a mother pushes her young child as he clutches his Spider-Man toy and an elderly man struggles with his wife in her chair. It is a long dark walk as we are escorted along the normally unseen outside trails of Bristol airport on a wind chilled winter evening...

Shivering we pop out by the luggage carousels to collect our lonely suitcases. Everyone else has already left!





But when the Groom jumps in early with his eager I do and love glistens in his brides eyes, the journey I have travelled this year to witness such joy becomes a distant memory...