Danny Gonsalves

Picture for Danny Gonsalves
  PRC-Saltillo Ambassador

My name is Danny Gonsalves.  I am 34 years old.  I use the Accent by direct hitting the keys. I have Cerebral Palsy, so I can’t talk on my own, so I rely on my device to talk with my family, doctors, helpers, teachers, and in my everyday life.  Without a device it would be hard for me to communicate my thoughts and feelings.  I have been on a PRC device since I was five years old - I’m a direct hit user using 144 area.  My interesting things are roller coasters, motorcycles and leathers, Disney world, Universal Florida, Six Flags, Dollywood, Camp ASCCA.  I love going to camp because I get a week from mom and have a blast!  My dream job is being a disabled activist because I see a lot of people and or businesses not following the Americans with Disability Act.    One year, my family and I went to a hotel called “The Wildness at The Smokies” located in Sevierville, Tennessee.  When my family and I went to the hotel, we had a blast. However, the hotel was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The first infraction that I came across were all of the automatic doors into the building; they did not stay open long enough so a person in a wheelchair could safely get through them.  They were too quick to close, and the requirements for automatic doors are to remain open is 1.5 seconds, a very short time by my standards.  The second problem I encountered were the elevators: the doors did not stay open long enough for me to get safely through them.  They were also quick to close like they were going to eat me.  After we got back home, I filed a complaint with the U. S. Department of Justice.  Since the hotel was a relatively new structure, I could not see how it had passed inspection with the ADA codes that were already in place at that time.  I made a complaint and the Department of Justice conducted an investigation.  The DOJ wrote to management of the hotel and after checking it out themselves they made improvements.  These improvements made it easier for future guests with a disability to more safely enjoy their stay.  I have had positive success with most of my recommendations to institutions in violation of ADA regulations.  However, two complaints that I have filed were dismissed.  I filed complaints against Six Flags and White Water, a water park, for two separate issues.  Both of these issues were turned back to me.  I was told that if I wished to pursue either of these issues it would be at my own cost. I had the option of fixing the problem or taking the organization to court at my own expense.  While I was not happy with these decisions, they will not stop me.  I feel that every complaint I make is an argument against discriminating practices.  This is why this law means so much to me.

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