ASD · Autism · Aydan's Life

Open Letter to Sam’s Club

I am autistic, my disability is not something that gives visual cues to the public which I struggle so greatly to deal with anytime that I force myself to go into public. I am autistic, I have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), Gender dysphoria, dissociative identify disorder, depression and I am a survivor of physical abuse as well as emotional and psychological abuse.

My scars and battle wounds are psychological. They are invisible and because of this people are quick to assume that I am a normal person, but that is hardly the truth. I struggle to articulate verbally what I can so eloquently put to paper, while I do speak it is hard for me to do so with any level of comfort when I am speaking with strangers. Speaking on the phone is triggering, and not something that I am able to force myself to do. I simply cannot.

When I purchased my membership at Sam’s Club barely a month ago, I was under the false impression that Sam’s Club was accepting and accommodating to their members with disabilities. In less than a month I have found that to be a lie, and the way I found this out was not only traumatic but also very embarrassing manner. An employee at the Sam’s Club in Colonial Heights (Club #6524) caused me to have a meltdown in public, because she refused to listen to me when I told her that I was autistic and could not perform a task that she was demanding me to do. My wife, who is always with me and is my personal assistant, also tried to explain to this employee that I was autistic and she was ignored as well.

There has been no attempt at a resolution other than an apology from the management; an apology that means nothing because the person that caused my meltdown was not a member of management. This woman was actually given the chance to apologize to my wife on Sunday and she said nothing. Would it make sense for me to apologize for the actions of someone that had nothing to do with a situation that I was apologizing for? I think not.

I was to be gifted six months of Plus Club membership, but that too was taken away along with my card. I have been given no closure and the woman that caused this problem is still as apathetic as ever at her register. Her excuse, she’s never dealt with someone that was autistic.

My reply to that is; the problem originated when she chose to ignore what I told her, she refused to accept what I, the customer, had to say. If you take away the fact that I am autistic, this behavior is still unacceptable. This behavior is unprofessional.

Since this happened on Friday, April 1st, (what a way to kick off Autism Awareness Month) I have been loathe to leave my house. Shopping for groceries has given me countless panic attacks and now I am having difficulty performing tasks that I have not had issues with for years.

So I ask you, Sam’s Club, one question:

What do you have against people with disabilities, more specifically, people with autism?

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