Heath using his power chairHeath explores freely using his power chair

$2,500 worth of Wheelchair Damage

My son has cerebral palsy and was four years old at the time we traveled to Chicago for medical appointments. When we arrived, we discovered the frame of his manual wheelchair, which had been in the cargo area had been badly bent – extreme pressure was exerted on the steel frame sufficient to require a complete replacement frame. This cost Southwest Airlines $2,500. I am still amazed when his wheelchair emerges from cargo with components loose and out of place due to lack of protection from shifting baggage. We know that any trip or family vacation could be potentially ruined by severe damage to his wheelchair, as has happened to many friends with disabilities. It is hard to explain to a young child why the airplane staff are unable to ensure the safety of his only means of mobility and he is saddened and confused that they don’t get it: damaging his chair has the same effect as injuring an able bodied person’s legs. I look forward to the day when people with disabilities can roll onto a plane and lock in place, just as they do in cabs, cars and buses. I look forward to the day when my son can travel with dignity and security.

Dr. Jenny Montgomery, MT