AMU AMU Disaster Crew Emergency Management Health & Fitness Podcast Public Safety

Podcast: Advocating for the Safety of People with Disabilities

By Glynn Cosker, Managing Editor, Edge and
Sylvia Longmire, founder, Spin the Globe

For individuals who use a wheelchair, traveling can be extremely difficult. In this episode of AMU Disaster Crew, Sylvia Longmire, founder of Spin the Globe, discusses her experience traveling the globe in a wheelchair, her favorite ways to travel, and why it’s so important for people with disabilities to be vocal advocates for accessibility rights. A transcript of the podcast is below.

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Glynn Cosker: Hello, and welcome to AMU Disaster Crew. I’m Glynn Cosker, your host and managing editor of EDM Digest and In Homeland Security, two of AMU’s new sites. This podcast features regular guests with expertise in various fields including homeland security, emergency and disaster management, and other related fields.

Joining me today is Sylvia Longmire, an expert in border security, immigration and Mexico’s drug wars. But when she’s not contributing her wisdom on those subjects, she’s also a travel writer and the founder of an award-winning, wheelchair-accessible travel blog called Spin the Globe — a site, and I’m quoting from your website here, it’s a site that quote, “Serves as an invaluable resource for thousands of readers every day.” And Sylvia knows a thing or two about wheelchair accessibility because she uses a wheelchair each and every day. So with that, how are you doing today, Sylvia?

Sylvia Longmire: I’m fantastic. Thanks for having me today.

Glynn Cosker: Of course, always a pleasure. And today, instead of talking about some political stuff, or COVID-19, or anything like that, we are going to dive into disability rights.

Sylvia Longmire: Yay.

Start an Emergency & Disaster Management degree at American Military University.

Glynn Cosker: Yeah. Because there are some situations where certain jurisdictions, countries, companies, they do get it right for people in wheelchairs. But there’s an awful lot of places, situations, where they get it dangerously wrong. And we do get into some safety issues with people with disabilities. I know that you are an expert on this, so why don’t you tell us first, Sylvia, a little bit about the circumstances surrounding your need to now use a wheelchair?

Sylvia Longmire: Sure. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005 while I was on active duty in the Air Force. And I was still walking at the time, and MS is progressive. Which means that it just basically, continually gets worse. And you have periods where you have a relapse and get better, relapse, get better, and eventually, it’s a steady decline. So I started using a walker in 2011. And then after that I started using a scooter for longer distances, I guess you could say. And then about six years ago, I started using a wheelchair full-time.

Glynn Cosker: And I met you about three years ago, if I remember correctly, maybe four years ago.

Sylvia Longmire: No, it was five years ago. I remember, yeah, it was five years ago, at the Homeland Security Conference.

Glynn Cosker: That’s right.

Sylvia Longmire: Yep.

Glynn Cosker: In D.C. And we have been associates and colleagues ever since, so to speak.

Sylvia Longmire: Yep.

Glynn Cosker: But recently, of course, you have been very much involved with Spin the Globe. So why don’t you tell us about that? When did you start advocating for people with disabilities?

Sylvia Longmire: Well, I really had a huge life change in 2015. I got divorced. I moved to Florida, and I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands, because my kids live with their dad during the school year. And I always loved travel. I traveled a ton before I got married. But I didn’t travel very much during my marriage. And a lot of things were going on and I said, “I really think I need to get back to travel to get myself centered, and healed and organized from all of this crazy chaos that’s going on.”

Except that now things were physically different for me. I started traveling with a scooter for work stuff for very short trips in the United States. But now I was using a scooter full-time for travel, and a power wheelchair at home. And I said, “Okay, I really need to figure out how to do this travel thing.” So I got online and fortunately, there were a couple of resources and a couple of blogs out there about wheelchair-accessible travel. And they really helped me figure out what I needed to do logistically in order to travel.

And crazy me, instead of following my own advice that I give wheelchair users now of doing baby steps when it comes to, especially international travel and air travel, I said, “I’m going big or I’m going home.” So I booked a 16-hour direct flight from Orlando to Dubai to visit some friends of mine who were teachers out there for a couple of years. Fortunately, it went very well. But it was still scary and very stressful. But I figured, “If I can do this, then I can pretty much go anywhere.” And even though I had friends on the other end that I stayed with, the travel and the organizing, everything like that, I still had to do on my own.

So, it started to snowball from there. That was in February of 2016, and then a few months after that, I went on a cruise to Alaska with my best friend. And that was my first cruise in a scooter. And a few months after that was Iceland. Then it was Australia. And I did Australia and Iceland totally by myself, with my scooter.

And I’m a writer, I’m a professional writer. And I’ve, as you mentioned before, been writing about the drug war and border security for many years. But I figured, if I’m going to be doing all of this crazy traveling thing, why am I not writing about it? And as I said, there were some other blogs out there. But I knew that I could write easily, either as good as the blogs out there and even better. So I said, “I’m going to start my own blog,” and that’s what I did.

And it was pretty slow at first but as I got into it, I found that there was a huge need for this type of information to be put together in one place. And I knew that I was going to be traveling more and more. So I said, “Why don’t I just give this advice based on my experience, and highlight the accessibility of the places I go, and also point out some of the pitfalls or the dangers, or things that you want to avoid or at least be prepared for in all of these places?” And it’s been gangbusters ever since.

Glynn Cosker: That’s quite the story. Now, the part that I’m going to refer to first, is the 16-hour flight. Is that what you said, to Dubai?

Sylvia Longmire: Yeah, 16 hours, direct from Orlando to Dubai.

Glynn Cosker: Yikes. I live in New Hampshire, and I found the hour trip down to Boston to be quite long. So I’m not sure I could do 16 hours on a flight. So, you’ve done all this traveling, and you’ve basically seen many different countries around the world, and you utilize, obviously, numerous modes of travel to go long distances. Now, cruise ships is one, isn’t it?

Sylvia Longmire: Cruising is probably my favorite way to travel.

Glynn Cosker: Right. So tell me about that. How does the cruise ship industry cater to people in wheelchairs? Do you give each trip a grade?

Sylvia Longmire: Every cruise line is different; every cruise line has its own personality. But the cruise lines that are based out of the United States for the most part, as far as departing out of the United States, technically or I should say legally, they don’t have to adhere strictly to ADA guidelines. But you have to remember that probably the largest demographic for cruises are seniors. So, there are a lot of seniors who have mobility limitations. Not because they have something like multiple sclerosis like me, or a spinal cord injury, but just because they’re older. And you go on a lot of cruises and especially in certain itineraries and you’re going to see a lot of people with walkers, with canes, with scooters and wheelchairs, et cetera.

The cruise lines know where their bread is buttered, so they have gone really above and beyond what, especially the hotel industry in my opinion, when it comes to making their ships as accessible as possible. And there are some cruise ships out there that are 15, 20, sometimes 25 years old. But when they go into dry dock or they go for a renovation or a retrofit, that’s one of the things they try to pay attention to, is to make the thresholds a little smoother, the bathrooms a little bit better and the doorways a little bit wider, or the doors less heavy. So they’re really paying attention to it.

Now, can things be better? Of course, they can always be better. I always tell my readers and my travel-agency clients that the newer the ship, the better the accessibility is going to be. And I’ve really found that to be true. So on the really big ships and the new ships, you’ll see things like pool lifts by the pools, to help wheelchair users get in and out of the pool, and in some cases, in and out of the jacuzzis. You will have no-touch sliding glass doors that have motion sensors and doors to get into the public bathrooms that have motion sensors. So it’s really gotten a lot better.

Glynn Cosker: Now you mentioned the pools. My son is in youth hockey, so I’ve seen lots of hotels around the country, I’ve traveled youth hockey, that is. So a lot of the pools I’ve seen, they don’t have those chair lifts. So is that a mandatory thing in the United States, or should it be?

Sylvia Longmire: It’s funny you should mention that, because that is one of the biggest horses of controversy when it comes to enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act and the controversy over these drive-by lawsuits. The ADA says that a pool has to have a pool lift if it’s a public accommodation, so a hotel would qualify. The vast majority of hotels don’t have them because nobody’s complained. Now if I were to go to a hotel, and let’s say that I’m a business person and I’m staying at this hotel once a month or twice a month and I’m regularly going there, and I would like to take part in pool activities and there’s no pool lift, I can send a letter or I can speak to the hotel management and say, “Hey, the ADA says that you really need to have a pool lift here. And you should put one in or I’m going to sue you under the ADA,” legally, they have to put one in.

Now, if there’s a hotel that doesn’t have one, it’s probably because nobody has complained about it or filed a lawsuit. But now you have these attorneys who are conducting what they call drive-by lawsuits. And pool lifts are one of the main ways that they file these lawsuits. Because you don’t even have to stay at the hotel to see that the pool doesn’t have one. They won’t even say anything, they won’t even stay at the hotel, and they’ll file this lawsuit to get the hotel to put one in. And these are done in states that actually provide monetary awards to the attorneys or to the person filing the lawsuit. And I think there’s only two states that do that.

It’s really a controversial thing. So legally, yes, the pools need to have one. But, you’ll find that most pools don’t have them. And that’s largely because nobody has complained or filed a suit to get one put in.

Glynn Cosker: I’ve thought about complaining myself, and I’m not in a wheelchair. I think it’s ludicrous, to be honest, that you’d go to a hotel and there’s a ramp that’s there for wheelchairs, and there’s obviously the elevators, they cater to ADA. So this swimming pool that’s right next to the elevators a lot of the time, it just seems a bit strange that they wouldn’t do it. I suppose the brand new hotels that are going up, they have them. It’s the older ones that I’ve been to, perhaps, that it wasn’t a rule to put one in so they didn’t bother.

But let me ask you another question. Swimming pools are one thing, but some of the places that you must have been to, are there any jurisdictions, places that are safer than others, or more dangerous than others for somebody getting around in a wheelchair?

Sylvia Longmire: When you’re talking about public spaces and safety, the number one thing that comes to my mind, especially for manual wheelchair users, and I don’t use a manual wheelchair but I have tons of friends who do, and I do have one as a backup, is sidewalks, sidewalks and cobblestones. Now we don’t have too many cobblestones in the United States, but you’ll find them in older places on the East Coast that are historic, places like Savannah, Charleston, Boston, et cetera. But Dallas was the worse when it came to cracked sidewalks. Charleston was pretty bad simply because it’s older.

And any place that you have tree roots that are taking up sidewalks and causing large cracks and uneven spaces, that’s a really, really huge safety issue for wheelchair users. There are also many countries where you don’t have curb cuts or curb drops at the intersections. So there’s no way that we can cross the street at safely designated crosswalks. And sometime you’ll find that wheelchair uses will have to go into the street in order to get to the next block.

I was recently on a cruise and stopped in Puerto Rico and San Juan. And I pretty much had to do that for half an hour, rolling in the street in Puerto Rico at 6:00 in the evening, which was not my idea of a safe time or a good time. But technically, Puerto Rico falls under the ADA because it’s a U.S. territory. So it really depends on the city, it depends on the country. But it really ultimately depends on where safety for people with wheelchairs, with walkers, with baby strollers, because it’s not just people sitting in the wheelchairs, if you want to roll your baby in a stroller and they’re napping, and you want to keep them napping, you certainly don’t want a rough surface to roll over.

It depends on where that priority falls as far as funding for that city or that county, or that state or country. And really it comes down to money and how much money they want to spend on making sure that the public areas are safe for crossing the street, for going down the sidewalk and not having to roll in the street.

Glynn Cosker: Right, and it must be different for each country that you’ve visited. Off the top of your head, how many countries have you visited?

Sylvia Longmire: In a wheelchair, I’ve been to 49. Total 57, but 49 in a wheelchair.

Glynn Cosker: That’s very impressive. And we’re talking about Europe, Asia. Have you been to Africa or Australia?

Sylvia Longmire: I have. The only continent I haven’t been to is Antarctica.

Glynn Cosker: Oh, you need to get down there. It’s lovely.

Sylvia Longmire: A friend of mine just went down there on a cruise. But crossing the Drake, no. I’m going to save a ton of money and take one of those plane flights that goes from the bottom of Argentina for two hours and lands. I’ll touch the ground and head back. But two days of crossing the Drake Passage, no thanks.

Glynn Cosker: Now one thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that you have an award on your shelf related to wheelchairs, don’t you?

Sylvia Longmire: I do.

Glynn Cosker: You want to go tell us about that.

Sylvia Longmire: Well, I’m going to have to ask you which award?

Glynn Cosker: I put you on the spot. It’s like, “Oh, well, which of my 10 awards?” No, no, what I’m referring to is that you were Ms. Wheelchair USA.

Sylvia Longmire: Ah, I thought that’s where you were going with that, but I just wanted to make sure. Yes, I was Ms. Wheelchair USA 2016.

Glynn Cosker: And what was that experience like?

Sylvia Longmire: It was amazing. It was amazing. And honestly, when I signed up for it, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. And I wanted to try out for it because I had recently started a non-profit called The PreJax Foundation. And our foundation raises scholarship money for kids who either have MS, or a parent with MS. And since it was just getting going, I thought it would be a great way to help promote that non-profit and what it represents. And at the time, I didn’t know any other wheelchair users, and certainly not any other women in wheelchairs. And I have a very specific disability and specific parts of my body that work and don’t work.

So it was amazing to meet all these other women who were wheelchair users, but also had different types of disabilities, different life experiences and were so positive and amazing. And I’m used to people saying, “Oh, Sylvia, you’re so inspiring.” And that’s great, I love that inspire some people. But those women were inspiring to me, because many of them have physically more difficult, more challenging lives than I do. And to see them just going through everything that they do with a smile on their face, and working and learning and traveling, and just doing stuff that all of us normally do, it’s really, really cool to talk to them and to share that. And I certainly would not have had that experience if I hadn’t been part of the pageant.

Glynn Cosker: I also consider people in wheelchairs to be quite heroic myself. My father was in a wheelchair the last year or so, of his life, in the UK. He died of ALS, so obviously the muscles stopped working completely. And when I was visiting him, in 2011 this was, I had to push that wheelchair. But pushing that thing around England, Southern England, and just hitting, like you said, cobblestones, cracks in the pavement, the door frames that stick up about an inch or so, and all of those things that you just take for granted when you’re walking around. And that got my brain going about the same thing that you’re doing now. You’re a champion of it; obviously you’re doing a great job raising awareness of this stuff. But my experience with my dad was something that made me just take a second look at it.

Sylvia Longmire: Well, imagine living in a developing country, in a place like Africa or South America, that has no infrastructure, and not being able to walk at all or being an amputee, or not even having access to a wheelchair where you have to be carried around. So, that’s what I try to impress on people, like, “We’re really lucky in Europe and in the United States we have laws and infrastructure.” But there are a lot of people who have it a lot worse than we do.

Glynn Cosker: That’s very true, very true, especially in the developing world. But the U.S., of course, until they enacted all the laws and such, it was a lot like that. So, do you think we’re there yet in the U.S.? Do you think at the federal level they’ve brought all of the safety and accessibility standards up to 100% acceptable yet?

Sylvia Longmire: No. We’ve come a long way, we have. And it’s rough emotionally just to think that we even needed legislation for that to happen in the first place. But that’s the history of so many countries that we need civil rights laws and accessibility laws and things like that for people to understand that we deserve equality and we deserve equal access, not just in the eyes of the law, but in the laws of society.

So we were just talking about this before the podcast started, but the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed 30 years ago. And all of us in wheelchairs reflect on the last 30 years and what our life experiences have been like because of the ADA and we’re very grateful for it. Most of us are extremely grateful for the ADA and what that’s allowed us to do, and it allowed us to have a mechanism for which to complain and through which to make things better. But maybe in the travel business, I see it more than other people. And I’ve spent over 300 nights in the last five years in hotel rooms around the world.

And in the United States, we were talking about new construction earlier, and I’ve stayed in hotels that were brand spanking new. And I couldn’t shower in the bathroom, because the bathroom wasn’t even remotely ADA accessible, because they put the fold-down bench in the shower directly across from the shower controls. So once I sit down, there’s no way that I can reach the shower head or reach the controls to turn on the water.

Glynn Cosker: That’s just very, very surprising.

Sylvia Longmire: It’s a fundamental thing.

Glynn Cosker: A brand-new hotel?

Sylvia Longmire: Brand-new hotel.

Glynn Cosker: Well then, they need to get people in wheelchairs on their design team.

Sylvia Longmire: Your lips to God’s ears. But they don’t because it’s not required, and it costs money. So people just read, the architects and the designers just read the ADA, and they said, “All right, this needs to be however many inches up off the ground, and these many inches. And the grab bar needs to go here and there.” But they do that and then they stop. And they never go the extra mile to pay a few dollars for an actual wheelchair user to roll through and say, “Yeah, this is working great,” or “No, this is not working great.”

So yeah, I would say probably 50% of hotels that I stay in in the United States, where we have the ADA, have gross violations. And maybe 5% of the ones I stay in are fully compliant where I’m like, “This is amazing. I’m super comfortable, I’m super safe.” But I could probably find an ADA violation in almost every hotel room in the United States.

Glynn Cosker: So 5% of what you deem safe, I’m sure anybody in a wheelchair would deem safe. But then, the other 95%, anything might happen, I suppose. Or you might not be able to get to a certain place safely because of these violations. Is that about right?

Sylvia Longmire: Absolutely. And really, the showers are the worse dangers for people with disabilities. And keep in mind, at least for the audience, that every wheelchair user is completely different. It’s like a fingerprint. We have different abilities; for instance, I can’t walk at all because I have very specific muscles in my legs that are affected. But I can grab on to a grab bar and I can stand myself up for a few seconds, which allows me to travel by myself. So I can transfer to the bed. I can grab on to a grab bar and transfer to the toilet, and the same thing for transferring to a fold-down bench in a shower.

However, if that fold-down bench is not properly secured to the wall, if the screws are loose, if you have a grab bar that is not secured properly or is not in the right place, I could fall, I could slip. I’ve had lots of friends who have had their tailbones broken, or legs broken, or different things because the equipment or the benches or grab bars or whatever, are not properly placed, in total violation. It’s not just about getting sued for, it’s in the wrong place. It’s about people going to hospitals and possibly dying because of the violations and things are not where they’re supposed to be.

Glynn Cosker: It’s just a sad state of affairs in my opinion. We had a president that was in a wheelchair, obviously we did. FDR did not advertise it as such, but you would think that with a legacy or a history like that, that over the last 70 years or whatever it’s been, they might have had some sort of proactive laws. What it sounds like is it’s all reactive. You go somewhere and there’s something that’s not safe for a person in a wheelchair, then have to go say, “This is it, this place right here, you’re in ADA violation.” Surely it should be change it so that people don’t have to complain about it.

Sylvia Longmire: Well unfortunately, we’re in a situation where many members of Congress and the president want to make the ADA more business-friendly because they feel that there are too many frivolous lawsuits against businesses, that it’s hurting them financially and could put them out of business in order to make the corrections or the modifications to make a place wheelchair- accessible. So not only are our situations not getting any better, but in some cases some people want to strip away the rights that we have to enforce the ADA.

What you say about being reactive, there are no audits. There’s no method for inspection at all. It is up to the wheelchair user or the person with the disability to enforce the ADA. And the only way we can do that is by enforcing a lawsuit. Parking spaces are the worse. Parking spaces, they have to comply with the state regulations for what the sign looks like, what the width is, and the painting, and the signage and everything. If that parking space doesn’t comply with all of those regulations, then the local police don’t have to write a ticket. And if it’s not in compliance, then the person driving the car or the person in the wheelchair has to file an ADA lawsuit against whoever owns that property or that retail business, or whatever it is.

So, that’s why you’re not getting more tickets, because the cops say, “Well, it’s not an enforceable parking space so we don’t have to write a ticket.” So it’s reactive all the way. And the companies aren’t going to shell out the money. They’d rather just wait for somebody to sue them because nobody complains. And that’s one of the worse things that makes me the most angry is when I go to a manager and say, “Hey, I can’t take a shower because this is in violation,” or “Can you help me out here because this is in violation?” And one of the first things they’ll say to me is, “Well, nobody’s ever complained about it before.”

Glynn Cosker: Yeah, that’s the old, go-to excuse.

Sylvia Longmire: Oh, my gosh, it’s awful, it’s awful.

Glynn Cosker: Well see, the parking spots have always confused me. Because yeah, they put them near the entrance, but then they’re just slightly wider than a regular parking spot. Which makes no sense because you, most people, have to deal with getting out of the car and usually perhaps having a wheelchair involved. And there’s no space to do that. So again, that was designed by somebody who wasn’t in a wheelchair. And I think that’s a big part of the problem.

You’re telling me that you went to a brand-new hotel, and that seems just outrageous to me that it would not be, in this day and age, in the year 2020, that there would not be 100% compliance with a brand-new hotel, or a brand-new store, or a brand-new shopping mall, or a brand-new anything really.

Sylvia Longmire: Well, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And society plays a big part obviously into who gets heard. And society plays a big part, obviously, into who gets heard. And as a demographic, people with disabilities are probably the quietest minority, even though we’re the largest minority. I believe the last pure research data that came out for 2018 or 2019 is that 23% of Americans have some sort of disability, whether it’s mental, physical, intellectual, or whatever the case might be. And there are, I think something like four million wheelchair users and many more who use other mobility aids, whether it’s crutches or canes, or walkers, or whatever the case might be.

So our group as a whole is huge, but we’re not particularly vocal. We don’t protest in the same numbers as other minorities. We don’t write letters or complain, and we’re not very loud as other minorities are. So we don’t get heard. And we’re also not as visible. And that’s one of the great ironies is that we probably need the most assistance legally and physically, to integrate into society like everybody else. But we’re also the least visible because it’s so hard to get out and about.

Getting accessible transportation for wheelchair users is very expensive and in some places can be very challenging. Because there are cities in the U.S. or towns in the U.S. that don’t even have bus service. So a lot of wheelchair users rely on public transportation or accessible shuttles that they have to schedule ahead of time just to get to doctors’ appointments. Now I’m lucky I have a wheelchair van that I got through the Veterans Administration. But a new wheelchair van with a ramp can cost up to $70,000 or $80,000.00. An even a used one is $40,000 or $50,000.

So how do we get out and about so that people can see us? And how do we integrate into society? By saying, “Hey, we’re just like you. We like going to the movies; we like going to restaurants.” If people don’t see us and if we don’t complain, how are people going to hear us? And work our way up that priority ladder when it comes to funding and legislation.

Glynn Cosker: Getting back to Spin the Globe, you’ve written a book, is that correct?

Sylvia Longmire: I’ve written a couple of books, yes. So, my first two books under the Spin the Globe banner were travel photography books. But then earlier this year, in January, I published Everything You Need to Know About Wheelchair-Accessible Cruising. And that was a really big hit, because wheelchair users love to cruise. It’s, in my opinion, arguably the easiest and most accessible way for wheelchair users to travel, and especially see more than one place on a single trip.

So I decided to pour all of the institutional and experiential knowledge that I had about cruising in a wheelchair into this book. And I talk about all the different itineraries that are out there, all the different things about cruising, about the ship, about accessibility, things that you should ask about before booking a cruise. Really, it’s everything that you need to know about it.

And it was really popular and then it’s actually won two awards. One through the Indie Book Awards and another through the independent international book awards. I can’t remember the exact names. But yeah, it’s won two awards, one was a finalist and the other was the award for the category. And it’s done really well and it’s on Amazon. And it’s selling really well. So I’m really excited about it because it’s motivating people to cruise in a wheelchair who might never have thought that they could do it before.

Glynn Cosker: See, now I know why I tripped you with my question earlier about the awards that you won. Because there are numerous awards. And yeah, I can imagine how a cruise ship obviously would be a lot easier to get around, travel wise, than an airplane. An airplane’s bad enough without having to involve extra space or anything like that. So I’m sure you do enjoy those cruise ship excursions. What’s one of your favorite ones that you’ve been on?

Sylvia Longmire: My two favorite cruises, a few years ago, I did a 12-night cruise with my best friend. And we went to Greece and Israel. That was pretty amazing. And even though the weather was not super great, on this most recent one, in November of last year, I did another 12-night cruise. We left from Venice and we went to Croatia and Sicily, and to Malta. And yeah, the weather was brutal, but hey, that’s the Mediterranean in November for you.

But Croatia, particularly split, was amazing. I had never been to Venice and was a little intimidated about going to Venice, because bridges and wheelchairs don’t necessarily mesh, especially when there’s so many steps. But I was able to find a guide and Venice is now one of my favorite cities in the world. And Malta, I am totally and completely and utterly in love with Malta. It is so amazing.

Glynn Cosker: If you were going to have one last thing to say here, about what’s the biggest thing that could be done to make America safer for people in wheelchairs, what would you say that was?

Sylvia Longmire: I would say to make sure you understand that we deserve equal access to everything, because we’re people just like everyone else. And just like a non-disabled person would expect things to be properly attached and safe for them to use, whether it’s a chair at a restaurant or a bed in a hotel room. Sometimes we need things that are a little bit different, but we deserve the same access to safety and to have a safe and comfortable hotel stay, or a theme park visit or a restaurant visit that’s the same as everyone else.

Glynn Cosker: I 100% agree. And hopefully we will get there in the coming decade or so. It’s been a pleasure, Sylvia.

Sylvia Longmire: Likewise.

Glynn Cosker: You’re one of our favorite guests, one of my favorite guests —

Sylvia Longmire: Thank you.

Glynn Cosker:… always. And I’m sure you’ll be back with us, talking about different things, of course. We still have to get into the Mexican drug wars and border security some more, and all that other stuff. But today we’ve been talking about safety hazards that are out there for people with disabilities. Sylvia’s website again is And it is spelled the way it sounds. There’s no funny spelling or anything. It’s spin the globe, all one word, dot net. You can see some of the pictures of Sylvia on some of the cruises and excursions that she’s described in this podcast. So Sylvia, until next time, be safe.

Sylvia Longmire: Thank you. You, as well.

Glynn Cosker: Thank you. So this as been AMU Disaster Crew. Join us next time for another episode, until then, stay safe.

Glynn Cosker is a Managing Editor at AMU Edge. In addition to his background in journalism, corporate writing, web and content development, Glynn served as Vice Consul in the Consular Section of the British Embassy located in Washington, D.C. Glynn is located in New England.

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