Northwest NEWS

July 5, 1999


Mariners owe writer $10 and an apology

   I'm writing about my feelings after attending the last Mariners game in the Kingdome on June 27. I'm a paraplegic who uses a manual wheelchair, and I drive a 1985 Ford T-Bird, as opposed to a van with a wheelchair lift.

   My sister and I have been going to M's games since 1981, and looked forward to the final game at the dome. We arrived at the Kingdome parking lot at 10:50 a.m., well before the 1:35 p.m. game time. A Seattle police officer directed me to the entrance, but the Kingdome parking attendant said that only vans with a lift would be allowed to park there, so he and the officer wouldn't allow us in.

   I've been to many M's games in the past few years and was never told this before. Since I use a wheelchair, I need a little space to get in and out of my car, plus I need to be somewhat close to the event, rather than rolling around Seattle's hills. No dice, they wouldn't let us in and didn't give us any alternatives.

   Meanwhile, other cars were already parked in the lot without disabled parking permits, and they continued to allow cars in as they turned me away. We ended up circling the dome for 45 minutes and finally parked about 3/4 of a mile away for $20 (as opposed to $10 in the Kingdome lot), then made our way back to the stadium.

   I'm in good enough shape to make it that far, plus my sister was there if I needed help, but what about someone who uses a manual wheelchair and isn't able to make it that far? What about people with disabled parking permits who don't use a wheelchair but have trouble walking long distances? What if it were raining? At the time, I didn't question this; I just followed the rules, but it left a terribly bitter taste in my mouth.

   I have state-issued disabled parking license plates and should be provided parking at such events. When we finally made our way back to the parking lot, we noticed there were many empty spaces available, and most of the cars that were already in the lot did not have disabled parking permits.

   I feel quite disgusted by the whole thing. I'd like to know who was allowed to park there? Who owned the cars (without disabled permits) that were allowed to park in that lot for that game? As far as I'm concerned, the Mariners owe me $10 (for the extra I paid to park), an explanation of why this happened, and a huge apology.

Bobby Mueller, Bothell