Travelling Hell

So here’s the story:We flew out of Grand Rapids on Wed afternoon, one hour late. We flew on a small (very small) jet and landed in Dallas at 6:40pm. Because of my MD, I require a wheelchair to navigate through the airports and onto/from planes. Well, shortly after the door opened, the stewardess yelled to me that my chair was there. So, I made my way out, and took a step toward the chair. The man who was there to help me with the chair was in his early 30’s and pretty stocky, yet he said to me, “too heavy” and proceeded to take my wheelchair away from me and walked up to the terminal. While he was leaving me behind, he said, “you walk.”All of this caused the passengers and American Airlines employees around me to laugh at me. I clutched the metal handrail, and made my way up the skywalk. Then, sat down and after an embarassing few minutes, Mel just took over and pushed me to our gate (fairly easily by the way). She then went up to the ticket counter to voice her anger at the way I was treated. The man apologized but said there was nothing he could do, but he called over the man in charge of the escorts. He said that this happens all the time, and will continue to happen….it’s just that most handicapped people won’t say anything because they are too humiliated.After arriving in San Antonio, and in our hotel, Mel and I began trying to contact American Airlines to voice our concern over this behavior. They’ve done nothing. They won’t return calls, or emails. One person told us that they might get back to us in a month, but wouldn’t do anything to ensure that this doesn’t happen again on our way home in the morning.So, that’s my terrible story. Still pretty hard to write down, but this has to stop. No one should have to experience this.UPDATEJan. 28th 2008 – We left San Antonio (gate) at 8am. Sat in the airplane for three hours because there was fog in Dallas. Then, we arrived in Dallas around noon, and our connecting flight to Grand Rapids had left. So, they rebooked us to a connecting flight to Chicago which they cancelled and re-booked us on another flight to leave at 6:45pm that flies into Flint, MI at 10:30pm. So, we ended up on that flight (which I was squeezed into a middle row) for 2 and a half hours only to land and what do I see outside of the airplane? That’s right, NO WHEELCHAIR AT ALL!!! In fact, no one there to help find one, nothing.So, I walked through Bishop airport, rent a car, drive to Grand Rapids airport, drop off rental car, pick up our car from long term parking (which was free because of my handicapped placard – thank God) and got home at 2:30am this morning.You want more “good news?” They’ve lost my bag, which had all my medicine on it (they came by last night at 8pm and dropped it off)I’ve been in immense pain since the original airport incedent and just went to the doctor who took x-rays and found that my pelvis is jacked, my hips are actually pointing at an angle, and my tail-bone is either bruised or broken (couldn’t tell, but the other x-rays should show)…which means I’m on my back for at least a week.Thank you American Airlines.ANOTHER UPDATE!Ok, I’ve filed the official complaint with the US Justice Department, and uploaded the story to Fox News.  

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10 responses to “Travelling Hell

  1. Honestly man, if you wanted to embarass them back, call CNN. They listen to this stuff all the time and love airing it.

    That’s seriously wrong. Even if you were too big, they don’t need to announce it in front of everyone, or they should ask in advance…that’s ridiculous. The guy should be fired.

  2. I would love to come up with something witty and interesting to say about your “escort service”, but all I have is this: He was a Ass. He was born an Ass and he will die an Ass.
    That did not have a thing to do with you. I know this because anyone who knows you for 2 seconds knows you are worth your weight in gold (or posibly Zinc, depending on the market).

  3. I think Andy’s CNN idea is good. But besides that – Chad, all jokes aside, you know a lot of people. We should all call American Airlines and tell them that we won’t be using their service because of the way you were treated. Maybe if they got enough phone calls they would listen? Well, in a perfect world…

  4. i just want to say that shit’s bogus and i’m pissed too.

  5. Total Bullshit! These are the things that we should come together on and demand change!
    Here is the e-mail contact form for AA: https://www.aa.com/apps/utility/contactAA/EmailCustomerRelations.jhtml?_requestid=1921596

    Chad, can we have your flight or ticket number?

  6. Thanks everyone, I’ve contacted American Airlines, the Disability Advocate Council, The ADA, CNN, WoodTV8 and Michael Moore….also a couple Civil Rights Attny’s (I found out that their actions violate the Air Carrier Act of 1995 which makes them liable for any action of any other company they farm out to assist people with disabilities)

  7. Good for you man! I’m not the lawsuit kind of guy…but this is deserving of one! I’m thinking millions…SO WRONG AT SO MANY LEVELS! I was so pissed when I saw this for you…

    love ya’ man…i’ll be praying for you this week!

  8. Wow … what to even say? I’m with Andy (and everyone else). Take it to the press, man. It’s wrong on every level, and I wished I could have been there to simply speak a “little truth in love” to the bastard …

  9. Thanks gina, I have now filed an official complaint with the US Justice Department. I will try to get back with WoodTV8 again.

  10. Chad, I am so sorry to hear about your incident and the way that you were treated. It is wrong on so many levels. And I think that it is a civil duty to notify the appropriate parties to try and bring about a change to spare others the same horrible experience. But it is equally important to make sure the intent behind those actions is imbued with an intent to bring about this change for the service of others rather than to bring the humiliation of those who were involved in those insensitive and thoughtless events. The ultimate outcome will be much more powerful if we are able to acheive it through compassion and not through outrage. We have to ask ourselves, what is the course of action that will best serve God and serve others. Compassion is always the right answer, although not always the easiest. I know all our outrage over this grows out of our love for you Chad. Now we need to take that and turn it into something positive.

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