(WSVN) - She is 100 years old, and she’s surprised that her condo association won’t give her a decal to get into the complex. It’s why she turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Vangie Commeau is 100 years old. That’s right, 100 years old.
Patrick Fraser: “Did you ever think you would live to be 100?”
Vangie Commeau: “No, I didn’t, but, you know what, you just, you don’t plan it. It just happens.”
Growing up in the depression, working in a ship yard during World War II, Ms. Commeau has seen what we read about in the history books.
Vangie Commeau: “I am a part of history. We all are. I just date a little further back than a lot of folks.”
We could have talked to Ms. Commeau for hours, but we were there to help with a problem.
Vangie Commeau: “I don’t want to make a ruckus. That’s not my purpose.”
Ms. Commeau lives at Carriage Hills Condos in Hollywood.
In January, they dumped their security guard at the entrance and gave each resident this decal for their cars.
It triggers the scanner, which lets them into the complex, but Ms. Commeau doesn’t have a car and didn’t get a decal.
Vangie Commeau: “I brought this to their attention, and they said, ‘No, they are not going to do anything about it.'”
When a friend takes her to the doctor or the monthly lunch with their friends, she has no way to get back in, so a board member told them to come in through the guest lane and buzz her to let Ms. Commeau in, but…
Vangie Commeau: “I have to make an appointment with a unit owner a day ahead in order to get back in. I hate to bother people when it’s something stupid.”
At 100, she doesn’t have a cellphone and doesn’t want one, but she came up with an easy solution.
Vangie Commeau: “If I had a little plastic card with that number on it, I could come in the resident’s side and scan it. Then, the gate would open.”
But the Carriage Hills board will not give her the decal to put on a card like they gave the other 913 residents to put on their car.
Vangie Commeau: “I have no reason to understand why they can’t do this for me. That’s why I’m standing up for myself.”
Well, Howard, is Ms. Commeau entitled to a decal?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “She is entitled to get in and out of her complex, and the association has the legal obligation to come up with a reasonable accommodation, and since she doesn’t want to use a cellphone, they need to give her a decal.”
The attorney for Carriage Hills told me they would not give Ms. Commeau a decal for security reasons.
I asked if they were worried about security, why did they get rid of the security guards?
She didn’t explain, and they do need to check their pedestrian gate if they are concerned with their security. The lock doesn’t work.
We watched people open the gate and walk right into Carriage Hills.
In a statement, the association said they have given Ms. Commeau numerous reasonable accommodations, including getting her a free cellphone, which she refused to use, as she says, it is “inconvenient.”
Ms. Commeau doesn’t want to deal with a cellphone and just wants a decal, which Carriage Hills refuses to give it to her.
Howard Finkelstein: “Sadly, an attorney will have to sue the association, and it’s going to cost all of the residents money because of their stubborn refusal to help out a 100-year-old woman.”
Vangie Commeau: “Whether you are 100 or 25, we all have our rights.”
And Ms. Commeau says she is not surprised the association is refusing to give her the decal that they gave everyone else.
Vangie Commeau: “They are here to serve the people and not manufacture excuses to avoid doing the right thing.”
With age comes wisdom.
We have been doing Help Me Howard for 23 years. Howard and I have never had one where we just don’t get it.
A 100-year-old wants a decal, just give it to her.
Got a problem that’s taking years off your life? Don’t let it age you. Contact us and hopefully, your problem will be history.
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