The challenges faced by people with disabilities in a world that is slowly becoming more accessible can often seem like a step forward followed by two steps back.
This unfortunate reality is currently being experienced by a Canadian TikTok user named RJ, who has been forced to navigate 48 stairs for eight weeks due to the out-of-service elevator in his apartment building.
RJ has taken to TikTok to document his daily climb, capturing the attention and support of a growing audience.
RJ, known as RJ Adapted on TikTok and other social media platforms, frequently shares his journey as a wheelchair user following an accident in 2021.
However, upon returning home to an unexpected notice stating that the elevator in his apartment building would be out of order for eight weeks, RJ embarked on a new series showcasing his ascent up the 48 stairs to reach his apartment.
Adapting to the situation with determination
In his first video, RJ expressed his surprise upon discovering the elevator’s closure, as he had not received any prior notification.
With no other options available, he began the arduous task of scooting himself up the 48 stairs, documenting the process with his camera.
RJ explained that although he utilizes crutches, a lesser-seen mobility aid, he still faces challenges due to leg spasms and hyperextension.
Despite these difficulties, he decided to use his crutches to climb the stairs, as they were more manageable to bring along compared to his wheelchair.
Highlighting an overlooked aspect of disability
Since that first video, RJ has diligently recorded his daily stair climbs upon returning from university and shared them on TikTok.
He emphasized that this aspect of disability is often overlooked in discussions, as individuals frequently encounter inaccessible environments and are forced to find alternative solutions.
“This is what you do, you adapt,” RJ declared in the video, acknowledging the necessity of finding ways to navigate inaccessible spaces.
He also expressed uncertainty regarding the legality of the elevator’s maintenance shutdown, seeking advice and insights from his viewers who might possess more knowledge on the matter.
Supportive and empathetic responses
RJ’s initial video depicting his stair-climbing efforts has garnered over 164,500 views within a mere four days. Alongside the views, hundreds of comments have poured in, offering advice and expressing support for his situation.
One commenter highlighted the importance of multiple elevators in buildings, stating, “A building is not fully accessible until it has more than one elevator for this very reason.”
Another viewer voiced their concern about the legality of the elevator’s closure, urging RJ to report the situation as it seemed “very illegal.”
Several individuals shared their own experiences, empathizing with the physical challenges involved in climbing stairs in a similar manner.
Others expressed disbelief at the wording of the notice, which seemingly suggested that people had a choice not to use the elevator.
One commenter sympathetically wrote, “That’s RIDICULOUS. I’m sorry you have to go through that.”
As RJ continues his daily stair climbs and shares his journey on TikTok, his story sheds light on the ongoing need for increased accessibility and inclusive environments for individuals with disabilities.