My first car, I shall call her Dalia.It's a right of passage that every teenager dreams of, getting their first car. It signals the beginning of their new found independence and and symbolyzes a new transition to adulthood. Whether it's a beat up 1986 Volvo or a 2012 Range Rover, you can't keep the pride from beaming across their smiling faces.
Just like every other bright-eyed teenager, I to dreamed of the day I would receive my very own car. Unfortunately, the first set of wheels I ever received were attached to a Quickie electric wheelchair, so that dream was put on hold.
Ever since I became sick at 14, I wondered if I would ever get the chance to have my own car. I often thought about the first time I would get behind the wheel, but for now, a joystick would have to do.
It was a little late, but at 28 years of age, I finally was able to purchase my very first car, a cherry red 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan. Along with its firey color, a grey pinstripe runs down the middle of the body and hood scoops sits on the hood. It's definitely a muscle car trapped in a mini-van's body, and it has my name written all over it.
I was so proud of myself when I got the van because owning a car as a person with a disability is no easy task. Since I am in an electric wheelchair, it's not like I could just buy some clunker to get me from A to Z. I needed something that was accessible, and the wheelchair lifts alone cost $13,000-$15,000. So the cheapest used car I would get would be around $22,000. I guess they forgot to let me know that you need to be rich if you're going to be disabled.
If able bodied people are allowed to purchase affordable modes of transportation, the same should be afforded to people with disabilities. I am one of the fortunate people with disabilities to have a job and salary that allows me to have my own car, but many people in my situation can not afford spending $20,000 - $50,000 on a car. If there was one thing I could change, it would be to make handicapped vans more affordable.
My first car is someting I'll always cherish and remember. It is a symbol of my success and independence, and I hope that one day this experience can be more of a reality for people with disabilities.