There are moments when you read a story that makes you want to secede from the human race. I had a moment like that when reading this article about people finagling, or outright purchasing, the entitlement to cut in line at airports and amusement parks:
Disney World is investigating news that a handful of upper-crust Manhattan moms have a pricey, secret way to get their kids to the front of the lines—and it’s not by bribing Mickey Mouse.
Instead, according to the New York Post, the moms pay $130 an hour to hire a disabled, “black-market” guide, who uses her position—sitting in a motorized scooter—to help entitled families gain special access to rides.
“On one hand, you can say she’s a great entrepreneur,” disability activist Kleo King, of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, told Yahoo! Shine. “On the other hand, she’s kind of pimping herself out. And it’s outrageous she would help people commit fraud.” …
Using a false disability claim to skip lines is not a new trick, unfortunately. A recent Wall Street Journal story documented the trend of travelers requesting the use of complimentary wheelchairs in airports as a technique of getting pushed to the front of security lines, only to leap up and sprint to their gates once they have clearance. “We call them ‘miracles.’ They just start running with their heavy carry-ons,” longtime wheelchair attendant Kenny Sanchez noted.
This reminds me of a story from several years ago about parents, seeking an advantage for their kids in cut-throat world of private schools admission, started conducting DNA tests and hiring genealogists to find some trace ancestry that is considered a minority. Because if a nominally white student can be shown to have 11% Native American ancestry, or 6% African ancestry, he or she might qualify for special admissions consideration.
The entire spectacle is an exercise in absurdity, but illustrative of what our society is becoming in this age of entitlement. Not one in which the merit of a person is considered, not one in which hard work and achievement is the path to success, but rather one in which your ability to navigate the entitlement system gets you to the front of the line. Both figuratively and, it seems, literally.
We are a society that wants shortcuts. We are inundated with get rich quick schemes, and miracle weight loss schemes, because we want to be wealthy, and slim, without having to do the work and make the sacrifices it takes to get wealthy and slim.
It’s all about instant gratification. If exploiting Native American heritage you didn’t even know you had, or faking an injury or disability, gets us to the head of the line we’ll do that. Increasingly, it seems, without any hint of shame.
Because we’re all entitled, right?