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A disabled vacationer Simon Sansome claims he was booted from an arcade – because they “banned mobility scooters”.
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Simon Sansome, 39, was enjoying a family outing in Ingoldmells, Skegness, Lincolnshire on Wednesday when he said he was asked by a staff member to leave the Bells Amusement Arcade.
The disabled activist, who is paralyzed from the waist down, was horrified to see a sign in his window claiming that a “management decision” meant that mobility scooters were “no longer allowed in the facility” – because of “accidents with customers” .
Mr Sansome, who runs a blog raising awareness about disability issues, claims he has since attempted to contact the arcade to speak to the manager but received no response.
He criticized the decision as “ridiculous” and “obscene” as he was not offered a manual wheelchair or other alternative way to enjoy the venue.
The sign reads, “Please note – mobility scooters are no longer allowed at this facility. This is a decision based on the number of accidents other customers have recently been involved in.
“We have manual wheelchairs for you. Please contact a member of staff who will help you with this. ‘
Mr Sansome of Leicester, Leicestershire said: “How dare you tell me what best I can use in your facility? It’s not like they’re medical professionals – it’s ridiculous.
“I use my electric scooter for long days – it’s much more comfortable than my wheelchair and more durable for going up and down slopes and curbs.
“I was not offered a manual wheelchair and I cannot use a manual wheelchair on my own. That’s why I have an electric scooter and an electric wheelchair.
“It’s absolutely obscene. It is definitely discrimination.
“Where do you draw the line? First of all, it’s me who has a damaged spine. What about someone who has learning difficulties or mental health problems? Are we going to ban them all?
“You gave me no justification for the decision, none at all. They just said it was management’s decision.
“I want them to change their policies and let people who have to use these scooters into the building.
“It’s not a mobility problem, I was able to move around the building well. There were people with strollers and wheelchairs and no one had any problems getting around.
“I can imagine that they are worried – and I can understand that – that children are really getting distracted with so many lights and sounds going on.
“I didn’t meet anyone, but people almost ran into me so they may have been worried.
“I can understand that, but that doesn’t mean you’re banning people from your building.
“It wasn’t the decision of the staff, she really felt guilty. She had just started there – the last thing I want to do is get her into trouble.
“She just told me it was management’s decision.”
Cataloging a lot of discrimination based on disability on his Ability Access blog and during his campaign, Mr Sansome says this is the first time he has been asked to leave an institution.
He said, ‘This is the first time anyone has come up to me and says,’ I’m sorry, you have to go. Management has told us that we are not allowed to have mobility scooters here. ‘
‘I asked her,’ How should I get around? I’m paralyzed from the waist down ‘and she said,’ I’m really sorry, it’s management’s decision. ‘
“It’s so bold, it’s stupid. I tried to get in touch with the manager several times. When I first called later in the day, the receptionist told me they were in an emergency meeting.
“I called back the next day – several times – and no one answered.”
A representative from the Bell Group – which operates several entertainment establishments in Lincolnshire – refused to comment “until they [Mr Sansome] spoke directly.”