The provision of extra services in the UAE – A win win situation for both disabled and non-disabled users.

One of the great things that I noticed in the UAE, which is helpful for disabled people, is the extra service provided at different service industries.

Back in the UK, filling up my car can be a challenge. My choice in petrol stations has of late become limited due to various reasons, including; the introduction of payment choices when filling up. On the actual petrol pump some stations have provided a small computer in which you input your choice of payment method before filling up. Cannot reach the computer thus I am unable to fill up my car. Whilst other people are given two choices of payment it takes away my choice even to fill up my car. Even when I can fill up my car I am often unable to reach the chip and pin machine because it is bolted on top of a high counter. Although most petrol stations offer assistance to wheelchair users, I am not wheelchair user so I am left with having to find an accessible petrol station.

What is great in the UAE, is that someone fills up your car, regardless of whether or not you have a disability, and takes payment from you without you having to step foot out of your car. All you have to worry about is whether or not you have told them the correct fuel for your car. That may seem like a luxury for some, but for me it takes away a disabling situation.

The other great thing is that in most supermarkets, in Dubai anyway, is that people pack your bags for you at the checkout. This is great for me as back home I cannot properly reach over the space where all your groceries roll down into after being scanned. Sometimes the cashier will offer to help pack my bags, but usually I have stand on tiptoes and really stretch over to be able to reach my items and pack them away. This generally takes me more time to do, making me paranoid about the queue forming behind me. But when someone packs your bags for you all you have to worry about is payment.

Often the extra dependency disabled people require can be stigmatising, in some cases creating unwanted attention. Whereas if everyone receives this same level of service the stigma and unwanted attention disappears. I am not suggesting that this be the case in regards to the various extra help disabled people require, but for me the extra level of service the UAE provides within some of it tertiary industries, makes daily tasks easier without drawing any attention to me.  Whilst the UAE provides this service for everyone, it unintentionally creates more accessibility for disabled people, such as myself, who are often not recognised as a disabled person.

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