Sit in different restaurants and you’ll get different responses from the waiters and waitresses. One might be having a bad day and will bark out, “What do you want?” Another might just be working to pay the bills and will sigh, “What will you have?” While still another will wear a smile, come over to your table and in a pleasant voice ask, “What can I get you this evening?”
Of course, if you value the same things I do, you’ll want the last person to serve you. The problem is that some restaurants will only have one or two waiters or waitresses that have that type of attitude and they usually are waiting on the table next to you. The trick is to find a restaurant where all the employees wear a smile and have happy attitudes.
“I want people to feel good when they come here.” Frank Hanold Jr. owner Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor said. “It starts with me and my wife. We hire people who enjoy working with people and have good attitudes.”
It must working because business is good. Pearl mentions the ample parking for people with disabilities, the entrance door width, seating arrangement and “happy” atmosphere.
“(They are) friendly and appear to go that extra mile for the handicapped,” Pearl said. “I’ve watched them and seen their actions and how nice it is to view. Our son has Muscular Dystrophy and also was impressed by their mannerisms.”
I found the same thing when I went out to dinner at Happy Joe’s. The wait staff was very pleasant and asked, not in a demeaning tone, if I needed any help. They came by my table a couple of times to see how I was doing. If I were a restaurant reviewer, I’d have to give Happy Joe’s a nine out of ten.
“We’d like to expand the place a little and make our bathrooms fully accessible,” Frank Hanold Jr. told me.
Technical advances of automatic doors or accessible facilities fall short if the employees aren’t there to make the customer happy. With more companies realizing the impact in a positive manner around the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), progress in being able to go almost anywhere is an enjoyable experience.
Here’s a short list of things you can do to make your business or home more accessible for people with disabilities.
1. Put everything at optimal wheelchair-users’ reach — at the level they can reach it even if they don’t have much arm movement. An area between 35 and 42 inches from the floor is recommended.
2. Give wheelchair users a 60-inch by 60-inch space to maneuver in.
3. Put in automatic doors — or lighten your doors so that it takes no more than 5 pounds of force to open them.
4. Make doorways 36 inches wide.
These examples are just the start of ways you can think of to make your place work for everyone. According to the Accessibility Guidelines of the ADA, “the maximum high forward reach allowed is 48 inches and the minimum low forward reach is 15 inches.” Here’s something to do that’s even better. Install everything like paper towel dispensers, light switches, phones at a point where somebody who can’t move any part of their body very easily can still reach it. That turns out to be anywhere from about 35 to 42 inches off the floor — the height that your arm would be at “naturally” if you were sitting in a wheelchair with your arm resting on the armrest of the chair. That’s an optimum reach range. It’s a point that everyone can reach — even children.
Happy Anniversary ADA!