Saturday, December 29, 2012
DALE WEBER NEVER RODE TRIMET AGAIN
I got on this bus after leaving Ham Radio Outlet, so I could get back to Tigard Transit Center to catch another bus. I boarded the bus in my Power Wheelchair and moved up next to the driver and asked her for a "Full Securement." To me, this means 2 straps on back of my chair, two straps on the front of my chair, AND the chest belt around me. She did do the four straps on my chair, but not the chest belt, so I got her attention and told her she was not done securing me and told her she had not put the chest belt around me. This is when she started getting cranky and contrary and said she would have to adjust the straps on my chair to get the belt around me. I said OK, and waited for her to do that, but she didn't and I asked again and she got more cranky. I told her I was only asking her to do her job and she got even more cranky. She complained that she was late, but I told her I couldn't help that and still needed to be completely secured. She threatended to call security, and I told her to go ahead and do that. She then opened the bus doors and told me to get off the bus, to which I refused, and indeed was still secured so could not have done that anyway. This driver was not thinking clearly at all.
One passenger, a lady, sitting across from me started to nag at me and I told her she needed to just leave me alone, and then this lady continued in on me and some of the other passengers started getting into it and nagging at me also. The bus driver did not do ANYTHING to contain this uprising, and I eventually turned to the back of the bus and yelled "BACK OFF" in my loudest voice. The driver then threatened to call the police because she said I was getting out of line, when I was only trying to defend myself against the heckling from other passengers.
All this time, my stress and anxiety levels were rising quite fast and getting quite high. I told the driver there would be a big problem if I had an anxiety attack, to which she responded "What if I have one?" I kept telling her all I was asking of her is to do her job, as I continued getting more and more upset and started to go into a full blown anxiety/stress attack, which became extremely intense very quickly, to the point where I felt something pop or break inside me. I don't remember anything from that point until the Police were standing next to me, apparently trying to wake me up.
Police made me get off the bus, which has NEVER happened in all the years I have been riding Tri-Met buses and MAX trains (1977 to present). I really didn't know what was happening for several minutes until I was off the bus and the police started talking to me in a manner that felt like I was being interrogated. For some reason, I was being treated like I was the cause of the problem, which could not be further from the truth. Then one of the officers told me everyone was telling the same story except me (or something to that effect) and asked me who they should/would believe, and then said them as he gestured towards the bus (as in not me). The bus driver and passengers have to have lied to the police, because that is the only thing that could account for how I was being treated. I was not taken direct to the hospital after I was on the bus, but had to talk to the police first.
The police hadn't really listened to anything I had to say, and had determined that I was the cause of the problem. They even commented that they didn not want to exclude me [from Tri-Met] (for what reason, I have NO idea because I have NEVER had any problem, other than one or two medical only situations on Tri-Met in all the time I have been riding). In fact, I have NEVER been treated this way in my entire 52 years of life! At any rate, I ended up having to go to the hospital just to satisfy police and paramedics. The paramedics were really the ONLY people who treated me decent at all during this insane situation the bus driver caused.
Medical arrived, with fire department, and they started checking the usual things, blood presure, pulse, etc. I guess somebody told them and/or police that I had passed out for over 10 minutes, which I have absolutely no memory of, and the paramedics wanted me to go to the hospital to get checked out. I did not want to go because I knew they would not help me. I don't think the hospital got all the information about what had happened, because they didn't really do anything and sent me home after a very short time.
I had heard a few things the bus driver had been telling police, but she was NOT telling the story right. She was telling mostly everything correctly about events, but she was telling everything in the WRONG order and omitting very important details - those that would make it clear she was the cause of the problem. This must be why police are believing her instead of me, the REAL victim.
If this bus driver had just done her job and not complained about it, including readusting the four straps already attached to my chair and putting the chest belt around me as I had asked, there never would have been a problem, everyone (including me) would have gotten to their destination no more than a few added minutes late, and everyone would have gone on relatively happy. It was the bus driver who caused this problem, NOT ME, and it is the bus driver and Tri-Met (her employer) who are entirely responsible for what I went through during this entire incident, as well as the health problems I am experiencing now that are related to this incident.
I will contact the transit supervisor who was in charge during this incident to find out what is being done about this. At the least, this driver needs to be SEVERELY reprimanded and put through a retraining course to make sure she fully understands her duties under the Americans with Disabilities Act, to Tri-Met, and especially to those passengers (able bodied and disabled) who ride with her.
I hope to see this driver removed from the #12 line as soon as possible, since I ride this line frequently on my trips to and from Ham Radio Outlet, and I want NO PART of this woman anymore. In causing this problem and refusing to properly secure my power wheelchair and me with the chest belt, this driver has broken the law (the A.D.A.) and, at the least, needs to be severely reprimanded for that. She needs to understand very clearly that she can NOT behave this way in performing her duties as a PUBLIC (as in, I am a member of this also) transit (Tri-Met) bus driver. I have never EVER been treated so rudely, disrespectfully, or inapropriately in my entire life, and I will NOT tolerate or accept this in any way.
In addition to all of this, I lost a Bluetooth Headset (Plantronics E390), which I paid $49.95 for. Nobody seems to have any knowledge of my headset, even though I was asking everyone about it. I had it when I got off the bus, but never saw it again. I kept trying to tell paramedics and police I had lost it, but nobody seemed to be listening to me.
Dale A. Weber