What It’s Like to Navigate Chicago in a Wheelchair – Rolling On, Ep. 1

What It’s Like to Navigate Chicago in a Wheelchair – Rolling On, Ep. 1

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I live downtown now. My apartment is a block away from the bus that takes me directly to my office. I did that intentionally, because I know it’s not easy to get around. It’s like playing the lottery, you never know
whether train stations have working elevators, if the sidewalks are free of
construction, curbs It’s always a challenge getting around. I’ll read the newspaper. Did you read this? So interesting. When I was 20 years old, I was involved in a pretty horrific car accident and I sustained a spinal cord injury where I pretty much broke my neck. I was told you’ll never walk again,
and yeah, here I am, sitting. Not walking. Daniel, can you bring me my coat? It’s been a journey. It’s been a challenge. Learning every day. I guess our greatest issue usually
is just getting around town. You know, we always have to kind of think about “Where are we gonna go?”
“How are we gonna get there?” Makes it a little bit more complicated for
us to kind of plan our, you know, weekends and vacations and things like that. So I work in downtown Chicago, and I work in Corporate Treasury. It’s kind of a finance job, sitting in front of
the computer most of the day. I’ve picked where I live so I can get on the bus that takes me directly to my office. But, that in itself has been a challenge
sometimes, because everyone’s trying to go to work during rush hour and nobody
really wants to make space for, you know the person in the wheelchair, because they’re looking at their phone didn’t even notice that I’m there. The state of accessibility in Chicago, I
think, it’s… okay. There’s a lot of work to be done. New public spaces that are being designed are intentionally being incorporated with wheelchair access and
ramps, but the biggest challenge for me, I think, being in a wheelchair is just getting around like everyone else. We were out today earlier and it was
raining. People don’t realize that if you’re in a wheelchair you can’t really
hold an umbrella and steer your wheelchair especially for the folks like me who
don’t have a lot of finger function so we’re just kind of at the mercy of the
weather. We tried to call a wheelchair accessible Uber and it was like 20 minutes away. You don’t want to wait in the rain for 20 minutes and so we tried to hop on the next train and there was no elevator. It would have been great to
be able to get up and take this train from this subway platform but, there’s no
elevator yet again so here we are going two or three more blocks to hopefully
find a train station that we can use. Just to get home, like everyone else can
just hop in an Uber and they can get home, but it was it was a challenge just
to get home. So are you excited to try Bar Siena? Yeah I can’t believe we never went. I’m always reading online about new
restaurants opening, I’m always really excited, so I book a reservation,
I’m like Daniel we’re gonna go here and I drag him out and we get there and
there are steps or there’s no way for me to get in. I’m just, I’m always really angry
when I get somewhere and it’s not accessible because it just feels like
it’s segregation because this establishment is open to everyone else but me and it just drives me crazy that I can’t go there. It’s made me not want to go to a lot of places because of that. Sorry. I think the more data out there, the
better. Accessibility is important and the
more people that contribute to this data I would say, the better. It would matter in my day-to-day life so
much because it would make it so much easier for me to feel confident when I
go outside the door and I would encourage everyone that I know to do it, too.

100 thoughts on “What It’s Like to Navigate Chicago in a Wheelchair – Rolling On, Ep. 1

  • Boostedb_ek Post author

    what a beautiful soul this woman has. don't cry, it hurts my heart

  • David Barajas Post author

    great video i am crying ? right now don’t what to say but we should put more atención to those details


    Its worth aprreciating.?❤

  • Joey Reger Post author

    Freaking shakey wakey! Hire me.

  • Jackie Alba Post author

    Awesome! What a inspiration she is to all. I am going to be in a wheelchair oneday due to my military disability. I really enjoy donating my time to help other's. Local guide's ROCK!!!

  • Scott Swope Post author

    Thank you for sharing your story Michele. Great to know that something like a review can be helpful – I will do better paying attention in my own reviews

  • Roy Sandoval Post author

    This is a bit touching.. I didn't realize something so small can make a big difference. I'll keep at it

  • FRYM MERINO Post author

    You are a very valuable strong knowledgable ? woman.Whatever u want u can get in LIFE positive vibes.

  • James G Post author

    Michele Lee Thank You for being a voice for many who like who have struggles getting around from A to B to be a part of the growing number of people making this information available it's a great feeling knowing that it helps people. You are an amazing women and once again Thank You for being a voice for those who like a lot of us are able to get around without troubles. Many blessings to you.

  • Sajid Sabir Post author

    Hello dear

  • Sajid Sabir Post author

    Dear 00923434353107 is my cantact no cantct me for any help

  • Rishad Abdullah Post author

    Ya nice one. Pointed something we should notice in mind and can do write about way of accessibility.

  • Pusalieth Post author

    Good video, and good revelation of the need for the "unknown" effect of the "unknown" person. Definitely not good though for others to expect it, just because they are _______. Victim mentality should not be encouraged. Overcomer mentality should be. Otherwise a divide occurs, with true power only in one group's hands. The power to overcome, the power to decide for yourself, to power to be self responsible, and the power to achieve past what you're born with, or environmental conditions have been set in.

  • mee too Post author

    99% of ALL OF US….TAKE LIFE FOR GRANTED! It's Time to start Paying Attention to Others, And Not just Our Electrical Devices!

  • Kathryn Watts Post author

    She would have better luck if she lived in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Shivakumar Hunasimarad Post author

    I am proud of being am also joined to this Google Map and am always ready for giving more information to the people through the Google Maps so saying to all please share this video…
    Love you Google Maps

  • Kal Elsehsah Post author

    Indeed it is segregation! I saw how important to answer one simple question "Accessibility".

  • nordy2010 Post author

    Inspiring story! I already contribute to Google Local Guides, but I'll definitely be making it a point to do it more regularly. I honestly hadn't thought about accessibility with regards to the service. It's on the forefront of my mind now. Kudos to Michele and Daniel!

  • Khalid Alhajri Post author

    Thank you Google map for making us contributing and be helpful for others ❤️

  • Cebo Sizwe Post author

    I will earn any compensation for doing all this work

  • Kuldeep Gupta Post author

    Good work

  • Burning Beats Post author

    I am glad that I am able to help. If we can't kill the problems in the world at least we can stand with one another to help out.

  • davidwr99 Post author

    Thank you Michele Lee for staring in this video. Your intelligence, personality, and insight have helped me realize just how important this issue is. Going forward I will do more to try and help make it a more accessible world for all.

  • Lorena Mayen Post author

    I work w/ppl w/desabilities (i take them where they need to go, i am a bus driver) and till now i don't understand companies who build a wheelchairs why they don't add hooks to make easy to tide them down that way they can be comfortable to ride on bus. I like my job but i can't get it why this companies don't care how this person is going to be transporte??? Suppose to they work to make they life easy, huhh … yeah rigth!!!

  • Suresh Meena Post author

    I'm now on level 5 & I'll try my best to help lots of people

  • Shaik Ahmed Post author

    Amazing wheelchair artist.

  • Syed Zuhair Naqvi Amrohvi Post author

    Initially when i joined as a Local Guide i was thinking why Google is asking all these kind of questions, but after watching this video I proud to be Local guide and will keep on sharing more and more ….

  • One Man On Fire Post author

    I've never thought about it like that when using Google locals for updates and pictures. When i visit my next location I'll keep people just like yourself in mind to make sure you have access to right information.

  • Dan Comden Post author

    Kudos to Google for this effort. That said, they are really lagging when it comes to accessibility of their major offerings, like Docs, Sheets, etc. I work with a guy who is blind and we can't use the Googleverse because they fail so hard at basic accessibility. It's because they won't adhere to standards that have been around for a long time. I say this as someone who uses Google tools every day, but I have to go elsewhere in order to collaborate with my colleague (who happens to be blind and has a CS master's degree)

  • Patrick Tsepo Pakkies Post author

    Hand in hand to build the Nation, humanity is the best response

  • Shanker Rao Post author

    Google! I really appreciate from the bottom of my heart the good work keeping in place for the disadvantaged people around the world. Keep it up

  • phillip mumba Post author

    It doesn't make you not to visit lot of places but it makes you move around just like any other person and learn more than us who walk ? ??.You on a wheelchair ♿you gat a job and loved , same dont have those… You are a star. Big ups to Google.

  • BLU CONECT SRL Post author

    Nice video

  • Carl Hewlett Post author

    Great video, very inspirational to help those in need! Thank you Michele for speaking out!

  • jason wakefield Post author

    Thank you for such great video and your encouragement,i feel like contributing more as a google local guide,through your inspiring story Michelle and for your boyfriend standing by your side.

  • IMMORTEL on Cloud Post author

    Love how USA is civilized…she would be so miserable in Asia.

  • QuezadaーケサダGenaroーヘナロ Post author

    Awww man I'll put more effort into my reviews!

  • Daily Fashion Dose Post author

    I'm so happy after watching this video. Our little contributions as a local guide is helping people. Now I'll be contributing more. Thanks ?

  • CMP STUDIO Post author

    असली किशानों का गीत है कोई मजाक नहीं है
    किसानों के हक की लड़ाई के लिए 12 साल के बच्चे ने किसानों का सोंग गाकर सिधी मोदी से टक्कर ली, अगर खेत में काम करने वाला किसान ईस गीत को सुनेगा तो वो खुद चक्का जाम करने लगेगा , मुझे लग रहा है इस किसानों के गीत पर रोक लगेगा क्योंकि इस गीत का लेखक विनोद पत्रकार है इस सोन्ग में ऐसे गंभीर चुनौती देंने वाले बोल है

  • Hamed Al-Jabri Post author

    I am encouraged even more now, and no one has to face that challenge. I hope that with all the LG accessibility data, Google can make statistics for accessibility friendly cities and rank them which will help cities compete.

  • Raylene keys Post author

    This is a great video

  • Dennis Canuto Post author

    Very awesome! I'm glad I've been contributing.

  • Master Adit Post author

    #LetsHelp 😀

  • jim gannon Post author

    That is what it's all aBout I was in o e for 2 1/2 yrs

  • Adenan Post author

    Very inspiring video and it'll helpful thousands people out there ?

  • Yara-Nee Dennis Post author

    This reminds me how grateful we should be for even something as simple as being able to walk and move around freely. I'm inspired by this woman.

  • midi-clhorian gaming Post author

    Really 1 person was interviewed

  • Anita Dark Post author

    I always answer to Google guide questions but I never thought It does help this far!

  • Tom Sawyer Post author

    very sorry for her, the world is just far from being good enough, and thanks to Google, the best company in the world that really care about people

  • Alan Hejl Post author

    My fiancee (who has paraplegia and uses a manual chair) and I were just in Chicago and had similar challenges. Luckily we're used to travelling and piggy backing through inaccessible metro stops because none of our destinations had elevators. We're so glad to see Google step up with this effort and hope to see it continue to grow to make the world more accessible.

  • Nccbindia Delhi Post author

    Really amazing,shows how much State cares for the Wheeled Chair individuals.

  • Rose-Marie Smith Post author

    This video has made me more aware of someone in a wheelchair and the obstacles they face when trying to get around their local communities. Thank you.

  • Ben Moshe Post author

    I believe it's in a law that every place that service the public needs to accommodate wheelchair
    I have an uncle that it's in a wheelchair, and I will be mad if it happens to him,

  • Ian C Post author

    Thank you for sharing this great video. I will continue to contribute to google local guides to make the world more accessible for more people like her.

  • rohit kale Post author

    nice video

  • Aniruddha Hom Roy Post author

    This is really an appealing story and has inspired me to contribute more with accessibility and relevant information of place I go. Many thanks to the lady and the people who conceptualized the theme of the story.

  • Robert Pippin Post author

    I think that EVERY business should be handiCAPABLE accessible. I hate the word handicapped. We're handiCAPABLE.

  • sathish kumar Post author

    Hope in India too it comes true on one fine

  • Jay Cool Post author

    I saw 55 dislikes on this video, now tell me why would someone not like this video…. God bless everyone wheelchair people and everyone.

  • Juliyana Silvie Post author

    good job

  • Sunil Teji Post author

    Very nice

  • Kathryn Watts Post author

    The buses are great! They're equipped with wheelchair ramps and have the kneeling feature and no stairs to deal with
    The buses are fuel efficient. There's also the light rail train. The light rail is quiet and smooth. I take both the bus and light rail because the bus passes are also good for the light rail. The reduced fare passes are best, depending on how long you gonna be in Phoenix, Arizona. Central Station is located on Central and Van Buren, where you can get a bus pass.

  • C A R T I E R E Y E Post author

    Proud to be a contributor. Heck I'm only 11 but this is fun!

  • Shivashekhar.F. Kamatagi Post author

    Contributions helps others it's main important

  • It's Me Chuck Post author

    I'm an active contributor to this data. I like how Google implemented a ranking system to see how you are doing as a local guide. This has made it fun for me because I go out to many places. I am happy to know that there are many useful ways that this data is helping others. I encourage everyone to start contributing even if it's a few entries. I admire the strength and patience that Michele Lee has in her day to day challenges. Stay strong!

  • DezaRoo Post author

    Everyone deserves fair treatment . !

  • thornmallow1 Post author

    Thank you Google for reminding me about this and wheelchair accessibility! I work for a company that is supposed to be wheelchair compliant. We are however CUSTOMERS SUCK! We have so many people who just DO NOT THINK that the person who is coming in behind them useually is HANDICAPPED! Some of our customers will take the wood wedge out of the doorways so that others cannot get in or out of restrooms without help. We have people who Just slam the doors in others faces. I have seen people close the bathroom doors then ARGUE with the staff for reopening them for the person whom is obviously handicapped. Then their flimsy argument is " The baby changing table is too close to the door. Someone might see me changing my child." ADN? Who in HELLS BELLS CARES ABOUT A DIRTY DIAPER?! Adults: you are TEN TIMES, then times the size of a small baby. Ok? You can BLOCK THE VIEW OF YOUR BABY WITH YOUR BODY AND THE STROLLER! If you have a cathiter you can go into a STALL to change it! I understand about the single Mom or Dad traveling alone. I get that. I understand that. You have to protect your kids I get that.; but people come on. A little HUMAN OLD FASHIONED DECENCY goes a long way.

  • Alexandre - Tutoriais Post author

    My heart gets tight when I see what life is like for these people. It's good that she can use a bike like this.

  • Afternoon Delight Post author

    This is beautiful and thought provoking because I honestly never thought about the accessibility of a person using a wheelchair…I feel like my contributions to "Local Guides" actually help and make a difference… I'm glad I helped and thanks for the insight…

  • mukesh mehta Post author

    There is a great economic divide..India is developing. Living in a developed world has merits of organized living. Life and Time management for a corporate citizen is offered. i like enthusiasm of Michele as to share how problems are solved and one needs to focus on improvement. Back home in India we have challenges which even if i share on videos to attend to in real time for public care ..it may take years of wisdom, efforts from rich corporates to support development to Indian Citizen. i have travelled to Singapore , Malaysia, Dubai..and hope to get all what you have shown in the video in my country India. Best Wishes.

  • cuongcad Post author

    Tôi và Cộng đồng Local Guide Việt Nam sẽ tiếp tục đóng góp thêm nhiều địa điểm để những người khuyết tật có thể tiếp cận các thông tin nơi mà học đến.

  • Tiffany Dixon Gladden Post author

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. This helps Local Guides like me understand what to look for in handicap accessible places!!

  • Shahzaib Abbas Qumber Post author

    She is so Beautiful and Strong Too. Also developing guideline for others.

  • Carlos Duque Post author

    Loved the video. As an accessibility coordinator in NYC I approach intersections, buildings, bathrooms, events, etc with an accessibility eye, always thinking or putting myself in others shoes who happen to be in a wheelchair and how they might be able to independently move around, get services, food, transportation etc and there are still many challenges ahead to make cities in the US and around the world more accessible to people with disabilities. Let's not forget that providing accessibility is not just about putting ramps, elevators and automatic door openers but also high contrast signage (for people with low vision), braille, auditory signals, truncated domes, ASL interpreters, CART services, etc . I Will be happy to keep contributing to local guides to allow more independence within the disability community.

  • Colin Bennett Post author

    I'm glad I'm a guide. I've been looking for things like this since it isn't cool for businesses to not make it accessible. This really hits close to home because I was so close to being in a similar position. I had two bulged discs that pushed on the nerves that let you walk. I almost lost my ability to walk. Thankfully I got my surgery in time. I encourage other guides to look for wheelchair accessible places as anyone's situation can change at any moment.

  • Fatima Oliveira Post author


  • Gulzeb Rao Post author


    Will any one help me?

    I have a sixth level of Google Local Guide.But Google did not contact me.And I did not get anything from Google.I've done a lot of things in the Google Map but everything is pending.Tell me what I do?

  • Rakesh Mahato Post author

    Great video

  • PlayShaRycky Post author

    This is great, will be very useful for Russia, it's terrible to try to go out by tube with push chairs and lot's of Mums struggle and I don't even mansion people on wheelchair cause it's not possible to go out and about as satires are everywhere. I defiantly know Russian train stations, airports (especially toilets) chemists, underground has very poor excess for wheelchairs.

  • Jade Mason Post author

    This makes me feel like I'm making my country and by extension, the world, a better place. Not all heroes wear capes 🙂 I'll definitely continue to do my part

  • Lesli Web and Media Svcs on YouTube Post author

    I do web design and videos and I contribute a LOT to google local guides. Thanks for posting this – I'll keep this in mind for future edits. My kids are both grown out of strollers now so I don't tend to look at that anymore. I used to look at it for strollers. Is there a way for people to re-post this on their own channel? Thanks!

  • Joe Cool Post author

    This is super cool. The idea itself is. I remember answering some of these questions, never imagined I'd see the outcome and you presented it so well. You guys gotta be proud.

  • Jayant Post author

    Great 🙂

  • George Lindsey Post author

    Michele Lee I'm in this to help, tech will work many wonders. Be as patient as possible, things will get better.

  • Julie R Queen Post author

    She is an amazing lady. She is trying hard True I can understand I was with a Patient and there were a few area they could not get threw there do need. Lets keep this going

  • kacida studio Post author


  • ビふ威ɐpuɐԀ Post author

    this is eye opening, more people need to watch this series

  • Hunter x craft Post author

    Bruh listen it sucks your handicapped but you can't complain about the fact that a restaurant has steps or that not ever train station or has a elevator, and you can't complain about ubers not being wheelchair friendly. The world is built for the 99% not the 1%

  • Kendra Dikes Post author

    This was very eye opening. I am a level 6 local guide and try my best to pay attention to detail when it comes to places I visit. I will definitely start being more focused on looking out for which places are wheelchair accessible and listing that. I don't even know her and I am so proud of her! You are an inspiration!

  • Justin G Post author

    She's so brave and strong She's a fighter and did not give up on life. Really inspiring

  • Chaz McCormack Post author

    You are a Wonder Woman!!!
    brought me to tears..Thank you!!

  • John Smith Post author

    We really need tank treads on wheelchairs. It wouldn't let wheelchairs go up stairs, but it would let them get over curbs and widely spaced steps.

  • Ashit Bhatt Post author

    Great presentation

  • QUANGMINH PHAM Post author

    Rat Tinh can thanhk Nhung nguoi Dan ing da tan Tinh cham soc cho CAC hot grille nhu vay

  • briansivley2001 Post author

    This is my own life in a nutshell. I last spring had to get a electric wheelchair because I have a condition called spina bifida and fatty filum which is a birth defect. Basically it's similar to arthritis in that it gets worse and worse as you grow up. Depending on how bad it is when you're diagnosed with it you could be in a wheelchair at that point or it will gradually get worse and worse until it's really hard to walk that it's necessary to use a wheelchair to get around. I was first found out that my spine was bad in a accident. When I was in elementary school I was involved in a rear end Bus Accident between my School Bus stopped at a stop light and a CTA Bus going back home and we were sent to the emergency room to check on us. Luckily for most of us we didn't get hurt but they did another X-ray to double check on my spine and saw something that was unusual in a normal spine. When my mom came to pick me up the doctors told her about the X-ray results and asked if I had a regular doctor which I did at Children's Memorial Hospital clinic in Uptown. The doctor told my mom that my doctor should start doing tests on my spine the X-ray showed a defect that could interfere in my life later on in life. So when we told my doctor and she did multiple tests including some that required me to be admitted to the hospital and one that test my lower muscles and they had to put a catheter in me which was so painful and we found out that I had spina bifida and fatty filum which requires surgery on my spine to fix. Unfortunately because of what I did to my mom which I won't say but all I will say that if I did it now I would be arrested and thrown into jail but because of my actions I'm paying for it now by being not able to walk far and have to rely on a wheelchair or friends to get around. If anyone's reading this and they're considering to do something bad to their parents and think that they would get away with it rethink that. Your bad decisions in life will eventually come back to bite you in the future trust me I know I'm paying for it right now and I wish I could go back in time and fix my bad mistakes. So love your parents and respect them because they're the only parents you will have and once they're gone they're gone forever.

  • Eric Gonzalez Post author

    stay strong stay gold its alot of work i know but we gatta move around until we csnt god bless im level t4 my self

  • Svitlana Shchedrina Post author

    I've been crying while watching it. Lot's of owners really don't care much about the wheelchair option. In our city most of the places are not accessable for wheelchair users. Maybe because of this I don't meet them often. They just can't get use most of the things other people do… it's so sad..

  • Charlie le'muel Southerland Post author

    It don't get any better, What can I do to help you make your day? Find me on Google maps my name is Charlie le'muel Southerland Google local guide level eight Palm Springs CA. USA. thanks.

  • Happy Post author

    Why there’s only beautiful girls on wheelchairs

  • Rob Adams Post author

    Is there an episode 2?

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