Thirty-five-year-old Scott Magee is blind, and he resents the fact that McDonald’s has a policy denying walk-up customers at the drive-through window at his local Louisiana Mickey D’s, as well as everywhere else. The policy, let us stipulate, is objectively reasonable. McDonald’s has a right to designate a window for drive-through customers and to choose not to offer a walk-up service like Dairy Queens. (Come to think of it, I don’t know that DQ has that any more. Does it?) It also has a right not to subject itself and its drive-though customers to liability for inadvertently hitting stoned fools who stumble over to the window late at night seeking munchies.
Magee and his Jackie Chiles-emulating New Orleans lawyer, however, are suing the burger chain, arguing that its refusal to accommodate non-drivers who are blind is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Now a class-action lawsuit, filed last week in Chicago’s federal court, alleges that McDonald’s has no “concern whatsoever for the accessibility of the late-night drive-thrus to the disabled.”
Oh, thank-you, George H.W Bush!* The ADA has always been an overly broad and mischievous law that endorses and enables the tyranny of the minority. I have often wondered how often all those wheelchair lifts the law forced financially strapped public transportation departments to install in their buses have been used, and what the cost per use is. I am certain it would have been far cheaper for the cities to just pay for cabs to drive the handicapped commuters door to door, but that would have stigmatized them.
Bush caved to the lobbying for cultural acceptance of the very debatable concept that citizens have a right to force others, including the government, to solve all of their individual problems, and the cost to the rest of society just doesn’t matter. That idea, a really bad one and a slippery slope to boot, has taken hold with a vengeance, the most prominent recent example being the theory that because less than 1% of the humanity faces a dilemma when choosing which bathroom to use, the rest of the public must forego the comforting privacy of gender-segregated bathrooms and dressing rooms. All girls should learn to be comfortable looking at male genitalia, that’s all, says the Charlotte Observer. How did we reach teh absurd point where that proposition can be seen as more reasonable, equitable and fair than asking transgender Americans to endure the occasional discomfort of using the “wrong” bathroom so his or her fellow citizens are comfortable? Why is it preferable to launch a divisive and nasty cultural and legal battle over the issue?
Unless Magee’s case gets thrown out of court, and don’t bet on it, all fast food restaurants will be forced to set up and staff walk-up windows, eliminate drive-up windows, or close down their drive-through service when inside service is shut down for the night. (If Scott can’t have that convenience, no one should.) Either over-head will rise for all fast food chains, causing job losses and higher prices, or everybody will lose the convenience of after-hours drive-up service because there is no safe, reasonable, affordable policy that will satisfy Mr. Scott Magee ‘s late night cravings for McNuggets.
Yes, it would have been nice, and ethical, if the owner of the McDonald’s in question played a little ethics chess and worked out a quiet, compassionate way to make Scott feel loved and catered to. It would have been worth it to agree to just deliver Scott whatever he wanted when the munchies struck, even giving him a special number to call. It would also have been ethical–responsible, considerate, fair, proportional—if Scott just planned ahead and got his Big Mac before the place closed it’s doors. A little mutual consideration and flexibility, some sacrifice and concern for others, a willingness to see things from the other side’s perspective, and this could have been avoided. Instead, jobs may be lost, a convenient service may be sacrificed, prices will rise, business will be lost, and all because one blind man feels that the whole world should adapt to his needs, and not the other way around.
Yes, thanks Papa Bush!
And a special thanks to Scott Magee.
I sure hope he enjoys his burger.
It’s going to cost enough.
*In a moment of momentary amnesia and stupidity, I wrongly blamed the ADA on President Carter. I apologize to Jimmy, though I’m certain he was a supporter. It’s still an overly broad, ethically muddled, pandering law.