|Posted by email@example.com on October 16, 2012 at 9:40 AM|
My most recent assignment for the Vehicle Production Group was to meet with several of our dealers and work on a plan to assist in hitting our targeted audience for sales: the disability community. But, this experience turned out to be so much more rewarding then just talking about selling vehicles. For those of you that follow us, you know that as a company, the Vehicle Production Group is not just focused on selling our cars, but rather, our goal is to change lives. We are a purpose driven company with a purpose built product.
Throughout my years of living life on wheels, I have learned that there are so many things that we (PWD) have to think about and deal with that most able-bodied people would not think about. I have also learned the importance of educating the able-bodied community about living with disability and disability ettiquette. Our idea is to meet with the dealers, who are able bodied, and give them a perspective of how to market to a community that they do not live in. It was so rewarding, and it also has opened my eyes to the things that are often overlooked.
We all know that, for a person living a differently abled life, accessibility is one of our main challenges and concerns when thinking about leaving our homes. Fortunately, because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all public places are supposed to be Universally Accessible so that all people are able to visit or utilize their services. But, just because a business or product says it is "Handicap Accessible" doesn't mean that it is. Accessibility does not just mean that the doorways should be wide enough for a wheelchair user to pass through. Accessibility means that the wheelchair user should be able to enjoy the venue or product just as an able-bodied individual could.
As you all know, I travel on a regular basis to different cities across the United States, showing the Vehicle Production Group's MV-1. This means that not only do I get many frequent flier miles, but I also stay at many hotels. Of course, I request an "accessible" room to make my stay a little bit easier. Unfortunately, all too often, I have to bring one of my co-workers to my room to make sure things are really "accessible" and within reach before we part ways for the night. Nine times out of ten, things are not where they should be in order to accomodate someone who is traveling alone, and unable to stand up from their chair. For instance, is the shower head within reach or is it up as high as it will go? Are the towels in reach? Can I get to the room thermostat? Can I reach the hangers in the closet or the iron from my chair? The answer to these questions is usually "No".
I have learned to bring these things to people's attention, and also to educate them. As I said before, these are all things that an abled-bodied person would not think about unless it is brought to their attention. These "teachable moments" are so relevant in bringing awareness to the needs of people with disabilities and another step towards inclusion and independent solutions for the differently abled community.
This trip was so rewarding because I was able to open our dealers eyes and give them a different perspective. The most wonderful part was not just educating them on how to market to the disabled community, but knowing that they will now see the little things that count and be more sensitive to the needs of our customers and the things that really count. Just another reason that I love our company and our product. We are changing lives one MV-1 at a time.