Closing thoughts about “The Incidents” at FSK Mall in Frederick

The last week at our home has been focused, first of all, on getting my daughter off to college. A second focus has been dealing with the “incidents” at FSK Mall in Frederick.

After two newspaper articles, an online article, and a television news story, we think there has been sufficient coverage. Just to close out, though, with some parting thoughts.

You never know what you are going to get with the media.

We have had experience with the media several times before, usually positive, but sometimes not. We were hesitant to move forward, but thought about the people with disabilities who feel isolated, have a bad experience, and feel powerless to do anything. We were very fortunate to have an excellent television reporter and an excellent newspaper reporter. They were experienced, bright, articulate and took the time to get the correct information. They obviously were seeing these incidents our family experienced as an opportunity to raise awareness.

I still can’t believe these things happened.

I mean, really, in 2010, 30 miles outside of Washington, DC, and this kind of thing happens. We were detained, as if doing something illegal. I guess we have not come as far as we hoped with disability rights.

My earlier post about Facebook is really on target now.

This public awareness started by some posts on Facebook, some people reading it and getting angry, and contacting their contacts, and contacts of contacts. Within 36 hours the media was involved. This can only happen through a medium like Facebook, which as I said before, has its problems.

Leadership is hard.

The managers at the mall were apologetic and upset, and understandably so. This is the kind of call you hate to get, and the kind of PR no one wants. Still, unfortunately, the buck stops at your desk, and you have to deal with it, and take steps to make sure it does not happen again.

The end result looks promising.

The best outcome is that disability access and awareness training will now take place in over 30 locations across the country. Someone, or hopefully many someones, will be spared the embarrassment and frustration of having to deal with this type of intrusion in a public place.