In the wake of stories like this, which detail how people are hiring handicapped people to gain faster access to rides at Disney World, I am just beyond words.
But that won't stop me from writing a few.
A few years ago, I noticed that Disney was renting wheelchairs to parents with children when they (Disney, not the parents) ran out of strollers. I understand why; they want to please their customers, and those customers need (or think they need; it's actually a want) a way to transport their kids on wheels through the parks. But what set my teeth on edge is that they were implying that a wheelchair is a viable choice as mode of transport. It isn't heinous, but it's a little icky. To me, at least.
So this latest bit of news - people actually hiring the handicapped for the specific purpose of using them, and handicapped folks allowing themselves to be used - has me wondering what the hell is wrong with people. Seriously.
I'm sure I've joked on a few occasions that the one "perk" of having a wheelchair-bound person in your family is that it helps you move faster through the lines at Disney. Joked about it. I certainly wasn't serious. The perks of being Mike's sister are that I get to be his sister; I get to learn joy from him. I get to watch him watch my least favorite movie, "The Wizard of Oz," with delicious glee. I get to hear him laugh, face red, eyes watering and arm swinging. I get to see him tucked into bed, hands curled under his chin, serene and sweet. Those are the fringe benefits - not the handicapped license plate, and certainly not the short lines at Disney World.
I'm not sure how Disney would handle it, but I hope they find an end to this sickening practice. In the meanwhile, I'll spend my time feeling grateful that my parents taught me how to live an ethical life.
They didn't teach it with the "do this" and "don't do that" approach; they simply lived in a way that had a positive impact on everyone around them - or they tried to do that, as often as possible. It taught us to be mindful of others, and I will always be grateful for that.
And as for the people hiring a handicapped guide for their Disney vacation ... well, I hope they get stuck on Space Mountain.