Huffpost Chicago
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Patrick Hughes, Jr. Headshot
Brigid Hughes Headshot

Paralympic Gold Medalist Struggles at the Gas Station

Posted: Updated:

By law, gas stations are required to pump gas for drivers with disabilities (15 million) when there is more than one employee on duty. In this story, Brigid drives with Paralympic athlete Linda Mastandrea to experience firsthand the barriers Linda faces.

Please meet Linda Mastandrea, attorney, author and athlete who has won 15 gold and five Silver medals in wheelchair track.

By every standard, Linda is an accomplished person. And yet... like 15 million other Americans with disabilities, Linda finds it to be a challenge every time she gets gas at the pump.

While gas stations are everywhere -- there were 159,000 retail fueling stations in 2010 -- gas station access is almost nowhere for drivers with disabilities. This, despite the fact that there has been a law in place for more than 21 years requiring refueling assistance at the pump for drivers with disabilities. For those who were wounded fighting our wars, for our parents needing assistance, for our children injured playing sports, buying gas is at best, time-consuming. At worst, and often, it is dangerous.

Follow Brigid as she drives with Linda for a fill up, talking about her world and what a gas station looks like to a person using a wheel chair. Special thanks to Linda for her time and letting us into her world.

Want more Pepsi With Brigid? Watch this moving tribute to Brian Hughes, who battled mental illness and AIDS before he passed away five years ago.

About this column: Patrick Hughes and his mother, Brigid Hughes, are using this video blog to explore the issues that people with disabilities have in navigating the world, as well as how businesses welcome them.