A couple of weeks ago Mark and I and some friends decided to go out in Central London for dinner. We fancied some Chinese, so where else in London would you go other than Soho?? We booked a table at the Golden Dragon in China Town.
When we arrived, the waiter advised us that the table we had booked was on the second floor, which was fine since they had a lift. My friends began making their way upstairs and Mark stayed with me whilst I waited for the lift to arrive.
When the manager saw me in a wheelchair, I could see that he began to panic. I guess he never imagined that I would have to use it! Probably it was only there to comply with accessibility legislation, but with no intention of it ever being used! Well, it was being used, but not for its real purpose…
The manager advised me that I needed to wait a few minutes before I could use the lift. I was wondering why, so I went to see what was going on. To my shock and horror the lift was filled with bags of rubbish!! They began to remove the rubbish bags from the lift to make room for me to get in. In order to make this as vivid as I can for you… the lift was completely full to the brim of rubbish bags! There was so many of them that they only removed half of what was initially there! The lift smelt so bad!!!! It had probably not been cleaned for a while! The bags had leaked all over the floor, not a pretty sight!
I reluctantly got into the lift… And I couldn’t believe that there were rubbish bags still in the lift! They had taken out enough bags for me to get in…but there was not enough room for Mark, so he ended up taking the stairs. I did what I had to do… took a deep breath and took the lift upstairs…. Those few seconds were the longest few seconds ever!
When I got upstairs I didn’t tell my friends, since they were the ones who booked the restaurant. I didn’t want to upset them! Disabled people are always complaining about accessibility and all things that involve getting around. Sometimes I prefer to be quiet and just get on with it! I prefer to complain about things that really matter. At least I can get this off my chest, by writing it down and raising people’s awareness!!!
On top of that, the toilets were not adapted for wheelchair users, and they had used the corridor as storage for all their extra chairs and tables…I couldn’t even get to the non-accessible toilets! Mark and I removed some of the chairs and tables so that I could get through…whilst all the members of staff were staring at us, not one offered to help! They were probably admiring my beauty!!!
On the way out, I naively called for the lift. When the doors opened to my complete amazement they had stuffed all the rubbish back in!!! I looked around and no one came to help or apologise. I was angry and upset and began to remove the rubbish myself! What else could I have done? It was at that moment, that I heard the manager shouting from the other side of the room ‘Wait, you can’t just call the lift, you have to wait 10 minutes!!!!!!’
Ok, I guess I caught them by surprise…they probably never had a wheelchair user in their restaurant before. But you would think that after the initial palaver when I arrived, they would get their act together! The manager would get the lift cleaned…I mean I would only have to use the lift again after dinner… how else were they expecting me to leave??? I mean what planet are they from??? There was no excuse…they knew I was there!!! I guess the rest you can work out for yourselves….
The moral of this story is… if you ever want to have a Chinese in China Town and you’re disabled…. Don’t EVER go to Golden Dragon, 28-29 Gerrard Street W1D 6JW. This experience made me feel like everything they had stuffed into the lift…RUBBISH!
All my love
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