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Disabled car and body

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:13pm

Around 7:30  PM Monday evening my daughter and I got to our van, only to find it dead. I called AAA and they were sending a tow truck to jump start or tow the car. I asked if they could help with my daughter and the wheelchair issue, the operator did not have a clue. Luckily, I decided to be macho and opened the hood (looking for that giant red “RESET” switch, I guess) and by some stroke of luck, fixed the problem. I canceled the tow, but not the thoughts …

I called AAA headquarters to get the email or fax of the CEO. I spoke to an operator who was very nice and we talked a moment. It turns out she is in a chair as well! I figured that she could answer my question. Alas, she had no idea what would happen if my car broke down and my daughter was in a chair. Uggh. But, she connected me to the CEO’s admin and although he would not give me the CEO’s email, he gave me the executive fax number. Cool.

I sent the following fax to the President of the American Automobile Association. I mentioned the more dramatic incident of a month ago.

Mr. Robert L. Darbelnet
President and CEO
AAA
Heathrow, FL  32746

Dear Mr. Darbelnet:

By way of introduction, I have been a “Plus” member of AAA since 1987 and now have a situation that no one seems to be able to solve. I am hoping that you can help me.

In short, my teenage daughter is severely disabled and can only be transported in a wheelchair. She is not capable of sitting up in any other type of seat. She is completely non-mobile and is a fully-grown young adult.

Recently my wheelchair van came very close to needing to be towed. We were on a stretch of major highway and just my daughter and I were in the van.

Here is my question that no one seems to be able to answer … when the tow truck comes, what do my daughter and I do? I know when I have been alone in such a situation I would ride in the tow truck cab. My daughter, in her chair, cannot do that and I understand that she may not stay in the van if it is towed, even on a flat bed.

Is there a solution? I cannot leave her alone to get help. I can only wheel her so far. Police cars and cabs are not equipped. Does AAA have a solution?

Thank you for your time and consideration, I await your reply.

He never responded (what is it with CEO’s and cripple-cooties?) BUT, within hours, Mr. John Martin, Director of Member Relations, called. He was great, with all the right answers. I asked him for them in writing so I could include them here.

He said that AAA will in fact help with getting my daughter to the destination, that they can contact other transport companies, and that in fact, that is covered! He also said he was having a note put on my account so when I call the operator will be aware of my daughter’s situation and what can be done!

Note that after this, I told him that I had a blog and wanted to write these great things. That is when he mentioned sending me an email and I told him that I wanted to post it. When I receive it, I will append it here. I hope his lawyers don’t change anything …  ;)

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