And this is our prize winner. Also from Grace Smith. Love this story because I too (Kim Kilpatrick writing this) do the same thing. If I come across something I cannot do, I puzzle and puzzle until I find a way to do it.
Way to go Grace! Enjoy
Pack a set of warm clothes and I guess you won’t have to operate a radio!
My second memorable accessibility moment also took place at last year’s Ottawa Folk Festival. It was my first year as a crew leader assistant. When I read the job description and the responsibilities, I knew that I could do the job except I wasn’t sure how I would use the radio – walkie-talkie. Allan Hicks, the crew leader for Accessibility, said not to worry about it, as he would gladly operate the radio. One thing that you must understand about me, is that I hate not being able to do something or figure out a different way of doing something. My hands are not able to squeeze the mic part of the radio, let alone raise my arm to my mouth to speak into it. The entire first day of the festival; it was all that I could think of. There must be a way for me to use it.
That night, as I lay in bed, I had an “a-ha” moment. I had figured out a way to work the radio. I could barely get back to sleep because I was so eager to try my idea out. The next morning when I emailed the volunteer staff regarding issues that needed attention, I also announced that I was going to conquer that radio hurdle.
When I arrived at the volunteer welcome centre, the lovely volunteers there were as excited as I was, when I explained that I was signing out the radio today and that I had figured out a “Grace-way” of operating it. I had them, hook the radio onto my fanny pouch around my waist and the mic was clipped to my t-shirt collar. It needed a bit of re-positioning but eventually we found the right spot. Then came the moment of truth…could I use it? Using my chin, I wedged the small mic into my shoulder and pressed the button to talk with my chin, also. The message was “Grace to Tammy”. There was no response. Tammy was unable to answer me at the time. I was elated, flying high and so thrilled that I had found a way to use the radio. The volunteers at the welcome centre were equally thrilled and amazed.
Feeling very proud of myself, I started heading towards our tent. Along the way, a call came through the radio: “Tammy to Grace –over”. “This is Grace, Tammy, go ahead”. “You are using the radio!”, she said. The tone in her voice was that of total amazement. I replied “Yes, I am and all by myself and am so thrilled!”. As I reached the tent, there was Tammy, Jenny and Anna (the volunteer staff) waiting for me to see how it was that I was using the radio. They were so amazed and thrilled and there was not a dry eye in the tent, at that moment. That was the most memorable and empowering moment for me.
So, the moral of the story is never underestimate the determination of a person with a disability, no matter how severe their disability may be.