Henry Ford is rightly recognized for his role in making the automobile a common part of American life. Part of his genius was that he paid good wages and priced his product within the reach of many Americans. These two aspects contributed to making this part of our society's life broadly accessible, and the wide participation in these benefits helped to make our entire nation more prosperous.
Ten years ago, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, and similarly made many areas of American life open to participation and contributions from many who would otherwise have not had this opportunity. In many cases, simple, inexpensive "reasonable accommodations" allowed disabled individuals to hold jobs, eat in restaurants, attend movies, go shopping, or do any of a multitude of life activities that others take for granted.
A free ride? No. A simple opportunity to participate, and to contribute. A way to use a variety of otherwise wasted skills for our own good, and by so doing, enrich the prosperity of society as a whole. This is the legacy of the ADA.