There are some unique and interesting stories about accessibility and disability. Martin Habacher is someone who tells these stories. His goal is to find and then share them with the world on his YouTube channel. REHACARE.com spoke with Martin Habacher about his most beautiful story and his motivation to look beyond what he sees.
Mr. Habacher, how did you intend to contribute to accessibility with your stories?
Martin Habacher: I wanted to find and tell interesting and at the same time unique stories that show how diversified and multifaceted the lives of people with disabilities can be. I wanted to not only inspire people without disabilities but also persons with disabilities to discover new things and look beyond what you can see.
What barriers do you encounter in everyday life?
Habacher: Obviously there are the typical barriers: steps instead of ramps or lifts, no adequate bathrooms or taxis or uber options for people who use wheelchairs.
What is your most beautiful story about accessibility and disability?
Habacher: A few years ago, I tested a Billa store (an Austrian subsidiary of REWE). The store had a stair lift at the entrance but since it was rarely being used, the employees didn’t know how to operate it. It took nearly 15 minutes until I was finally inside the store and able to buy something. In the end, I had to wheel through the warehouse to get inside the store. After my shopping trip, I posted a picture of the stair lift on Instagram. A few minutes later, the social media department of Billa contacted me via Twitter and promised to look into this. 30 minutes later, I received a call from the store where I had left my number requesting to talk with store management. The store’s assistant manager told me that a representative from the head office had already been to the store and trained all of the employees. The best part of this story for me is that it proves that you can definitely make a difference and change things.
What does inclusion mean to you?
Habacher: I have already answered this in the following video:
Since the video has no English captions, you can read the translation of what was said right here:
Barbara Stöckel: What does inclusion mean to you? Is it a real concern for you or do you say, "I just live my life as it comes with the problems I face, my job and my interests – let others take care of it."?
Habacher: To me, inclusion means if one of my Facebook friends whom I have chatted and shared photos with extensively over the past three weeks – meaning, someone I don’t see every day – hosts a birthday party, sends me a Facebook invitation and I am able to go. And I am able to go inside the restaurant, am able to use the restroom there and get a little drunk with that person. And if that works out well…
Stöckel: Which order takes priority in this case? I have an idea...
Habacher: Walking in the door and the restroom. Then I can decide whether I get drunk or not. (laughs)
Stöckel: But first you have to get drunk and then you need to use the restroom.
Habacher: No, first I need to see whether the restroom works for me. If I am already drunk and then start to look for a restroom, things will take a tragic turn.Stöckel: I get it ... (laughs)