I love my family, but, like most families, mine is kind of crazy. A couple of years ago my grandma and mom came out to visit me and I was thrilled to be able to show them around my city.
My grandma’s health had been on the downswing lately and although she could walk, it was painful and she couldn’t go very far, so we would often use a wheelchair and a rental car to get around.
And it worked really well most of the time. However, it quickly put in relief just how non-wheelchair friendly my city is. Handicap parking? Pshht good luck, sucker. Ramps into buildings? LOL.
So when we decided to go out to dinner at a southern-style restaurant in my neighborhood, we clumsily pulled the wheelchair out of the car, rolled up to the entrance with grandma, and were delighted to see that they had a short ramp into the restaurant.
It was a beautiful day, one of those first tastes of Spring kind of days, where it’s finally balmy and people flock outdoors. The restaurant’s patio was pretty busy, but with plenty of tables and the weather absolutely perfect we all decided we needed to be out there too.
As we rolled up to the hostess stand, the hostess greeted us cheerfully and I asked for “3 for the patio, please” and then continued to follow her gaze to the entrance to the patio and the big ass step down to it. Realizing this small, but unnecessary hurdle, I quickly revised our request.
“You know what, it’s actually fine if we sit in here.”
“No, if you want to sit on the patio, we will get you a table on the patio” the hostess said with resolve.
“Really, it’s ok. Inside will be fine.”
“No, we will get you on the patio.” She pressed and then went to go speak with a couple of guys before coming back and saying that we should go back out the front door to the patio entrance.
Ok…maybe this will be easier than it looks, I thought. We wheel grandma back out and realize the entrance to the patio is blockaded by a table of 8 sitting at hightops.
As I started to wonder if there was another entrance, I see the hostess and one of her coworkers come out and speak to the table. Motioning over to the three of us standing outside the gate. As the table looks over, they all collectively begin to nod with a mission to help. They all — all 8 people — put down their silverware and drinks and get up and start moving the table out of the way.
Finally, the hostess is able to open the gate to the patio. We wheel grandma in up to a table just a few feet behind where the 8 top was. The hostess has moved the chair out of the way so we can wheel grandma right up to it — easy peezy. And then, as she smiles and asks — how’s this? somewhat rhetorically. Grandma goes, “I’d rather have that one.” Then proceeds to get the fuck up out of her wheelchair and WALK around multiple tables, chairs, and patio-eaters watching the situation to … not the table next to it…or the table two spots away…but the table in the back corner of the patio. The furthest fucking table from where we started.
Ohhhhhh my goddd. The hostess’ face drops. The patio-goers look a little confused. And meanwhile Mom and I just follow grandma to the table in the corner. “Yeah….this will work fine.” We agree, exchanging slightly embarrassed looks as we realize the lengths the staff went to when all along grandma probably could’ve walked down that step in the restaurant.
Telling this story to a friend later on, she told me I should’ve screamed, “IT’S A MIRACLE!!!” when grandma got out of the wheelchair to make the situation a win for everyone. If only I was that quick on my toes.