"My job is my favorite hobby."

A portrait of Roman Pott, owner of re|aurigo

Petri+Lehr event, Island experience, Roman Pott
 

He lives and loves his work. His enthusiasm belongs to automobiles and the feeling of freedom. "This is where I belong to me alone." Freedom that is already contained in the term 'automobile'. Compiled from the Greek autós, 'self', and the Latin mobilis, 'mobile', the term was initially used to distinguish between the 'self-moving wagon' and the agricultural vehicles otherwise drawn by horses.

This is precisely the self-movement and self-determination which are the focus of Roman Pott and his customers. Like he himself, many of them are already on four wheels: in a wheelchair.

As a user, expert and customer adviser at his company re|aurigo, he combines a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge. He knows the road everyone has to take. After an accident or illness and months of hospital stays decided on by others, the first step back to "normal" life. This always proceeds via mobility. "Yes, driving a car again would be great! To simply go. Alone." Life with the new situation is rarely accepted straight away. People bemoan their fate, are full of doubt and don't want to have anything to do with the necessary Petri+Lehr auxiliary products and modifications which will enable their dream of self-determined car driving. Hearts beat for convertibles, motorcycles or sports cars. Roman Pott picks people up precisely where they are at. He knows what he's talking about. He is familiar with the challenge of having to shift from a negative attitude to life to a positive one in a relatively short space of time. To accept the status quo and (re)discover the world's beauty.

He himself had more time. He has been in a wheelchair since childhood. (Incidentally, his wheelchair is partly made from carbon, a top model!) He was very lucky. Loving parents who challenged and encouraged him. He wasn't wrapped in cotton wool. "You can do it" was their guiding principle. He took part in everything, school trips, class outings, sport, music and lots more besides. He had the necessary freedom to acquire his own experience. Today, he passes on what did him good in his advice: "Actively find your own way. Self-confidently and with trust. You want a sports car and are in a wheelchair? Then find the solution. How do I get the damned wheelchair in the Porsche?"

The gold medal from 2005 hangs on his wall. He won it with the German team at the European championships in the Czech Republic in sledge ice hockey. The sport characterized him. He was underway each weekend, in training several times a week and all over the world at games. Inconceivable without personal automobile mobility. It sounds strenuous, but his eyes shine when he reminisces: his first encounters with the team, the feeling of not being alone in his fate and simultaneously experiencing variety. He talks of the great team spirit within the squad. Of the laughter and exuberance after the games. Of the joint victories and also defeats, with the emphasis on joint. Of the shared joy, which triggers joy. Of completely normal discussions among men - who has which wheelchair or car and the news of the world.

He is still on the road today. But now in the service of others. He has been a businessman since 2007, when he founded his consulting company re-aurigo. (Latin for "to steer the wagon"). He sensitizes sales staff at the major automotive manufacturers, provides technical and operational advice, checks and tests new mobility products for people with physical limitations. Petri+Lehr products are at the top of his recommendations list. From his point of view as a user and expert, he recommends the Multima3, "because it is very ergonomic and visually appealing". From the customer advisor perspective, he prefers the MFD1. "The product is quickly explained and sold as soon as it's demonstrated. It's established on the market and easy to understand without gimmicks. It does what it says on the box, no more and no less."

If you delve deeper with him into the material, he is a mine of figures and statistics. A disease during the lives of 83.4% of people who require driving aids leads to a physical disability. Each year, around 100,000 new vehicles in Germany are registered by people with a disability. When purchasing a new vehicle, severely disabled persons are usually given a 15% discount on the list price by the majority of automobile manufacturers. Who knows that? During the discussion, it becomes increasingly clear: Roman Pott advises holistically. With figures, contents, knowledge, but most of all as a person. He gives courage. Courage for a future. Courage for self-determination and personal responsibility. In his own calm style. This is precisely where Roman Pott is a perfect example for others - not just wheelchair users.

He only becomes excited when someone attempts to hinder his self-determination. How does that happen? He has several examples to hand. When traveling by train, for instance. Train attendants are not allowed to provide assistance on boarding and disembarking due to "insurance reasons" when the "pig cage", as he calls the equipment used to hoist a wheelchair user into and out of the train, is nowhere to be found as usual. Being spontaneous, impossible... or major concerts. He loves them. However, there are 30 tickets for wheelchair users in comparison with 50,000 for able-bodied persons. Can you guess why? Due to "insurance reasons". He is also unable to fetch a beer himself on such evenings. Nobody is allowed to leave the wheelchair area. Same reason. Occasionally, he says with a grin, he buys a normal ticket and insists on his rights on entering. Then his counterpart suddenly finds himself in a discussion about equal rights and constitutional paragraphs. With such logical, factual arguments that the other person stands there helplessly in thought. ­­

Do disabilities turn people into disabled persons?