By: Mona Shand
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missourians may notice changes happening at a well-known chain of regional gas stations to make them accessible to all. The modifications at the Kum & Go locations will bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act as a result of a class-action lawsuit brought by Gary McDermott, a Vietnam veteran who uses a wheelchair and spends many hours on the road doing advocacy work.
“Their parking was not correct and was not compliant with the ADA,” McDermott says. “Their access aisles with the parking was not compliant. Their ramps were not compliant. I had a hard time getting around in the stores. So, we started to see a pattern here, that they were just ignoring the ADA.”
Kum & Go operates a total of 430 stores across Missouri and 10 other states. Under the settlement, the company will bring 100 stores into compliance in the first year and then another 75 each year until the modifications have been made at all locations.
In addition to the fixes with the ramps, doors, aisles and the locations of fuel pump controls, McDermott says Kum & Go is going beyond what’s called for in the ADA with the installation of fuel-assistance calling devices.
“So a disabled driver who drives in doesn’t have to honk or flash their lights and hope they get service,” he says. “They press a button, which can be reached by the driver’s window, and it rings a buzzer inside and then someone comes out and assists them with their refueling.”