Flying with a disability is tough but after going interstate quite a bit, I actually thought I’d mastered it. I knew my frame weighed 12.5kg for the check-in staff, I knew that I’d beep when I walked through the security point and I had figured out how to monkey- bar walk between the head rests on the aircraft so I didn’t have to ride in the ultra – narrow red wheelchair.
However, none of this helped on Monday night when they were understaffed and I was stuck in the airline wheelchair for 26 minutes in the terminal, positioned facing a rubbish bin (see below video excerpt).
I felt forgotten, demeaned, so rejected – like a bit of rubbish that hadn’t quite made the silver bin. Others walked by, only stopping to dispose of their rubbish. However, one staff member found me there stranded when walking past at the end of her shift. She apologised and offered to wheel me to the baggage carosel. Vulnerable and desperate, I just nodded and thanked her.
I felt worse as each minute passed. Equally, I felt more passionate to educate others. The impact that someone’s actions can have on another. The airline may’ve been understaffed that shift. However, how I was treated and where I’d be thrown was far from empowering. Are your steps affecting another? Could you do things a bit differently to prevent them from feeling like a bit of trash?