Reuters reports the following story:

No thumbprint, no money, bank tells armless man

MIAMI (Reuters) – A bank in Florida refused to cash a check for an armless man because he could not provide a thumbprint.

“They looked at my prosthetic hands and the teller said, ‘Well, obviously you can’t give us a thumbprint’,” Steve Valdez told CNN on Wednesday.

But he said the Bank of America Corp branch in downtown Tampa, Florida, still insisted on a thumbprint identification for him to cash a check drawn on his wife’s account at the bank, even though he showed them two photo IDs.

In the incident last week, a bank supervisor told Valdez he could only cash the check without a thumbprint if he brought his wife in with him or he opened an account with them.

“I told them I neither wanted an account with them and couldn’t bring my wife in because she was nowhere close by,” Valdez told CNN.

Bank of America said in a statement cited by CNN: “While the thumbprint is a requirement for those who don’t have accounts, the bank should have made accommodations.”

Valdez said his treatment by the bank violated the U.S. Americans with Disability Act requiring institutions to provide reasonable accommodation to disabled persons.

(Writing by Pascal Fletcher; editing by Todd Eastham)

It would be funny it it weren’t so disturbingly stupid.


Voting 2

November 7, 2008

The majority of Americans with disabilities are not registered to vote. I was trying to find some statistics to post here, but there is not a lot of research on the topic, either.

Early VotingWhen I was in New Hampshire, the entrance to the polling place I voted at had stairs and no ramp into the building. The exit, however, had a concrete ramp. So in order for a person who could not climb stairs to vote (and I did witness this with one senior citizen who used a walker) that person would have to go in the out door, which left him or her on the wrong side of all the registration tables. The traffic flow was only suitable for one-way traffic.

A better-designed layout would have had a traffic flow that had people going in the ramp door and out down the stairs. This still means that a person not using the stairs would have to go against the flow of traffic to leave.

The reason this is preferable is to accommodate people who might have cognitive or communication impairments in addition to a physical disability. The flow of the room should make it easy to determine what to do without having to ask. If nothing else, one could imitate the person ahead of you in line, something I do as a nondisabled person put in a new or unfamiliar situation all the time.

In the place I voted in PA, there was only one door so everyone had to go against the flow of traffic to leave. It wouldn’t have been any more awkward for someone in a wheelchair, scooter or with a walker than for anyone else. (If I were running that polling place, I would have still turned the check-in tables ninety degrees do direct flow better, but it was functional the way it was).
Some technology after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »