I recently went to a public hot pool with a friend. We paid extra to go on the hydroslide, which is one of my most fun things to do in the whole wide world! Since I lost my sight I really enjoy activities that have a smooth and sliding sensation, like cycling, hydrosliding, ice-skating and snowboarding.
I have been on the hydroslide at that particular pool on another occasion. However, this time, when the owner-operator saw my white cane and my friend assisting me to the changing room, he turned off the slide.
The pool attendant came over to me and said that his boss told him that, because of my low vision, he will not allow me to go on the hydroslide. I said but I have been on it before. The attendant said the boss would not change his mind. They gave our money back but we missed out on having a slide.
This did not make sense to me. The slide is in an enclosed tube that has steep slides and tight curves, which people cannot see around regardless of whether they are blind or have excellent eyesight. Nobody has any control over their speed. Everybody just goes straight, and round, and round the other way, and that’s the whole point of it!
This makes me think that one day a police officer may ask me to get out of the car when I’m the passenger, because I have no control over which way the car will go! It could be *dangerous*.
An accessibility law should make sure that everybody can enjoy the same amusement activities regardless of their disability.
This is a story about the barriers many face. We're sharing it because we want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.