Friday was another beautiful day here in Bethesda and D.C., so we decided to go to the National Zoo with our friends Chang Lee and his fiance Thung Xiong. (Chang was in Seth's platoon; he has considerable damage to his left arm after being shot at point-blank range.) Because parking is so expensive, we opted for the Metro. After our successful experience on the Metro last week, we had no worries about negotiating it again.
When we arrived at our stop, Seth approached the ticket gate for handicapped folks, and a worker waved him away from entering because the elevator at that stop is broken. Really? We debated our options--get back on the train, go to the next stop and walk back to the zoo--or attempt the escalator. Seth opted for the escalator. These are no ordinary escalators--they are three to four stories long/high. We had not brought Seth's leg because it isn't comfortable to wear all the time and it's cumbersome to carry. So he stood on his right leg and held on to the moving railing. Chang was supporting him while I held the wheelchair when I realized that Chang only has one good arm. I gave the chair to Thung and went to hold on to Seth.
Getting off the escalator was terrifying. Seth had nothing but the moving handrail to grab onto, and he can't hop on his leg. Somehow we managed it. We got Seth back in his chair--just to discover another escalator in front of us. This one was very short, so Seth just stayed in his chair, and the three of us held him from behind. If the second elevator had been as long as the first, we never would have made it. If Chang and Thung had not been there, we never would have made it.
I truly wish I had been able to video all of this so I could post it and hope it embarrassed the Metro management enough to get their act together and fix their elevators. So we did not need to go to the zoo to see a mother grizzly . . .
We did make it to the zoo. It was a perfect day and we had a lovely time. Otters, pandas and the reptile house were probably the highlights.
On the way home, we walked to the next Metro stop to avoid the escalator issue. Grrrrr . . .