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Interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act

Earlier this week, a situation outside of Orlando made headlines after a kid was asked to give up a motorized cart even though he had some muscular development issues.

His mom took to Facebook to voice how upset she was, and the post blew up.

So we looked into some of the legality issues. What is a store’s obligation?

“You never know what’s wrong with somebody and you don’t want to question them with what’s wrong with them,” Jodie Mast, a manager at Lowes, said.  “We don’t discriminate on people that can use them. So there here for whoever would need them.”

So that’s what Lowes does, but is there anything legally saying who could use these carts?

So we made some calls. We called the ACLU, The Florida Retail Federation, the National Retail Federation and more than six attorneys. Either they didn’t get back to us or they didn’t know or want to talk about it.

A letter interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act says no, stores are not required to provide motorized carts for customers. However under the act, it is against the law to deny anyone full and equal accommodations in a place of public accommodations because of a physical disability.

That means if you offer motorized carts, you cannot decide who gets to use them.

So we asked Jodie what she would do if she saw a group of kids who looked like they were screwing around on the carts and someone at the front of the store needed one.

“We might ask them to slow down,” she said. “Or say if there was someone needing one, we might say ‘Hey, is this something you really need because we have someone up front that really needs it.’ But I wouldn’t say ‘Hey you need to get off of it’ because I don’t know what maybe wrong.”

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