Tuesday, 15 January 2013

We Don't Have To Legally Do It!

I just had a row with one of the blokes who works in the office at Maggie and Alice’s nursery. As I pulled in this morning I noticed that the bays where the staff park had all been cleared of snow. The parking bays for parents – and particularly the two disabled bays – hadn’t been cleared of snow. I remarked to one of the receptionists - as I struggled past carrying Maggie, pulling her (very heavy) chair, keeping an eye on Alice and propping open the doors with my feet – that I thought this a little odd. Yes, it is a bit, she replied.

After dropping off the girls at their class, I returned to reception to ask whether I could expect the disabled bay to be clear when I returned to pick them up. The receptionist started to say yes but a voice from the back of the room shouted: “We don’t have to legally do it you know!” This made me angry: “Oh, you don’t have to legally do it? Fine. I’ll just slip and drop Maggie shall I?” I then stormed off.

As I got a few steps out my anger made me turn back. The bloke who’d shouted had the same idea and we met at the door. He started ranting about how he didn’t have to legally clear the snow from the disabled bay or from any bay for that matter all we have to do is clear the road and I’ve been out here for four hours this morning clearing all this and whah, whah fucking whah. To the latter point I suggested he take it up with his employer. To the other point I responded that legally people don’t have to do lots of things – but they do. It’s what makes us nice, decent human beings.

And, of course, he didn’t have to legally clear the staff parking bays either. But he did. If all the parking bays had been left covered with snow I wouldn’t have said anything.

Most days – twice a day – me or Shannon struggle through those nursery double doors carrying Maggie and pulling her chair and keeping an eye on Alice. We haven’t ever – not once – asked for assistance. Even though we’re running the risk of dropping Maggie or doing ourselves an injury. And every day the people in reception watch us doing this. Today it would have been good to have had a little assistance. Or, rather, to have had a little consideration.

But really it was the “we don’t have to legally do it” that boiled my blood. Two things: it’s a very mean-spirited view of the world and, worse, the implicit suggestion there is that I was asking the fucking earth. Who do we think we are with our pain in the arse disabled kid and unreasonable demands?

NB: The girls’ nursery, by the way, is fabulous. The staff there are great and Laura – the young woman who looks after Maggie – is marvellous.


  1. It beggars belief!Why are people like him allowed to work in that environment.I would take the matter alot higher.he should not get away with it.I am having my own personal battle with the NHS at the moment.I had an urgent op cancelled last week 24 hours before it was due to happen due to the gross incompetence of one nurse.This resulted in huge amounts of NHS money being wasted.Let us know how you get on.

  2. What a pr*ck! I do also think he'd actually find very quickly indeed that he DOES have to legally do it, that providing a service to one group (staff members) but not to another (disabled users of the building) is very likely to be seen as discriminatory, and that as it could reasonably be forseen that failing to clear the bays leads to a real risk of injury they may also be guilty of negligence.

    In the circumstances, can you safely pop Maggie in her chair at the car so you're not carrying her in?

  3. Not only discriminatory, but also a health and safety issue I'd think, if you are on their property. In that case they have a legal duty of care to ensure users can use the facility safely. Knowing you have a disabled child, they need to consider your safe access to the facility. I do hope the door is on a push button- disabled access system for you and your daughter's chair. If not, I'd ask for that to be considered as well.

    Of course it's not snowing in the U.K. now, but policy should be revised for next year. Is the nursery large enough for a safety and health comittee, if so, submit the case to them for review and action. Good Luck

    p.s. you are a great, inspiring Mum.

    S in Bda