Sarasota News Leader

05/23/2014

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Siesta Seen Our daughter is 42 and severely disabled due to [cerebral] palsy. … [A]s with every visit we drove the 220 miles round trip to the [Siesta] beach as it is one of our favourite places to spend the day." When they walked up to the person who han- dles the rentals, requesting two lounge chairs and an umbrella, the writer continued, the man told them he could not rent the equip- ment, adding, as the English visitor put it, "NO UMBRELLAS TODAY TOO WINDY." They told him they understood, the writer continued, so they asked for just two loungers so they could sit under the trees, where their daughter would have some shade. "[I]n reply we were told we were not allowed to sit behind where the loungers were given out (20 yards away). … [We] explained that she needed to be in the shade and close to the restrooms [and] tried to explain that we couldn't drag the wheelchair through the sand and she [could not] use the beach wheelchair as hers is custom made. At first I thought he must not like English people but it seems he treats all customers with the same contempt [because] he was talking to everyone in an arrogant tone as if they were 5 year olds." The writer added, "A local man overheard how [the rentals representative] talked to us and apologised saying it's not usually like this here … [I]t seems such a shame that the pub- lic face of such a lovely place is represented by this person and I am sorry I had to feel the need to contact you regarding this matter." Patterson replied, "That's a terrible shame. I apologize for our community." She also sought details about exactly where the incident occurred — whether the person with the rentals represented the county-ap- proved concessionaire near the beach pavilion or a condominium complex. "Again," she added, "I am sorry for your bad experience. It would help to know where [the man was] because if the gentleman is operat- ing off the public beach it would be easier to see that it does not happen again." Patterson copied Parks and Recreation Department Director Carolyn Brown on her answer to the Englishman. % Season officially may be over, but visitors still are very visible on Siesta, as evidenced by these three-wheel vehicles headed south on Midnight Pass Road on May 17. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 23, 2014 Page 79

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