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Accessibility Request Turns Into Personal Attack Online

by Ginella Massa
Posted Aug 1, 2018

A Toronto restaurant goer says she was left stunned after her suggestion for a wheelchair ramp at downtown establishment turned into a personal attack online.

On Sunday night, Tessa Vaskas and her father tried to get a seat inside Victory Cafe on Bloor Street West, where she had been many times before.

I was with my father who is a stroke survivor, and sometimes he uses his wheelchair, sometimes he uses his cane, Vaskas explained to CityNews.

Her father was using his cane Sunday, and with limited mobility, couldnt get up onto the seats at the restaurants high top tables. Vaskas said the patio wasnt an option either because of the two steps leading outside.

I made a suggestion maybe he should consider getting a ramp there because its actually street level, she said of her conversation with a man working at the restaurant who was helping get them seated.

He went on to argue that ramps are fire hazards, and you need a permit to be wheelchair accessible, which is absolutely not true.

Vaskas said she and her father ended up going around the outside of the café to get seated, but that wasnt the end of the interaction.

Vaskas, who also volunteers for the StopGap Foundation a charity that provides wheelchair ramps to businesses decided to leave a one-star review on the restaurants Facebook page recounting her experience.

I was a frequent Victory Cafe customer until I came with my dad who has a mobile disability, she wrote.

I politely mentioned to the owner that he should consider a ramp instead of stairs to the patio, allowing a more accessible entrance. He got very defensive and continued to argue with me that its a fire hazard and you need a permit to be wheelchair accessible. This is absolutely not true and ramps are not a fire hazard. I was extremely disappointed and will not be returning.

But it was the response from the man she believes to be the same person she interacted in the restaurant that left her stunned.

A user named Knick Kndreka replied to her comment.

I opened the side door for your father and helped him way more than you did, he wrote.

I think you as a daughter should do more for your father in helping him way more please dont be shy hes your dad and stop being around him for his pension thats all youre about.

The reply has since been deleted from the restaurants Facebook page but an image of the interaction can be seen at the link below.

Thats just not how you respond to someone, said Vaskas.

He didnt acknowledge the issue in any way. Its just a personal attack.

Original at at personal-attack-online/