When Theresa Purcell arrived just before the gate closed for her flight with American Airlines, she found herself in an impossible situation after staff told her it would be too late to put the ramp up for her wheelchair so she could board the flight – so she would have to crawl on board instead.
The hip-hop artist travels up and down the country often due to her work, and claims she has never experienced anything like that, with this being the first time she has flown with American Airlines, and the experience being far from a positive one.
I was humiliated. It was embarrassing to have 50-something people watch you crawl into a plane.
There was a ramp right next to the plane and she was like, ‘Oh, it’s too late,’ so I was like ‘Okay, so we can’t just, the ramp is right there. Can’t you guys just push it right here so I can get on?’ and she’s like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry’.
Is today another time where I have to climb onto an airplane again, where all these people have to watch me embarrass myself again, and I got to be there? hoping please, I hope I never see these people again.
The airline replied to the letter and dismissed the initial claim for compensation, saying: ‘thank you for your letter on behalf of Theresa Purcell. American Airlines will not be issuing any compensation for your client’s injuries claim’.
Now Purcell’s lawyers are pursuing a full blown court case for $75,000.
It is hard not to agree with Purcell’s outrage, given the day and age we live in and the fact that a disability should be accommodated, not something that causes embarrassment and ridicule – not to mention the fact that the airline clearly disregarded their obligation to someone with a disability.