A number of my Facebook friends wanted the story behind my statuses on Friday...so here it is... I recently flew to Minnesota for work. It was really beneficial to have face to face strategic talks with my colleagues. It also gave me the opportunity to spend time with my new boss as he works remotely most of the time.
I have flown on numerous occasions in the post 9/11 era with my power wheelchair for both business & pleasure. For the most part everything usually runs smoothly...except this time.
I was at the airport in Minnesota eager to fly back home. Usually when I go through security they wave a wand over me, give me a quick pat down, take a quick look around my chair and send me on my way. However, this time was way different. The security dude walked over to me and asked if I was ready. I acknowledged - yes. He began rubbing me all over...which even made me feel dirty. He pulled me forward and started feeling my butt. I now have a greater understanding of how Kermit the Frog felt each time Jim Henson put his hand inside him. If the security dude kept his hand there any longer he would have had me singing, "The Rainbow Connection".
He started patting my crotch area. Being away from my wife all week this dude was a few rubs away from popping the cork. He then asked me to take off my belt. I told him that I couldn't but my helper would be able to. Since my helper was already 'cleared' from security he's not allowed to touch me until I'm clear. Since the security dude already had gotten to know me intimately I agreed to let him do it. After the waist check and a mirror ran under my chair I was good to go. Surprisingly he never gave me his number after that.
After checking in for the flight I learn that the flight has been delayed 2 hours. I was tempted to go back to security to see what I get on the second date.
After all this I finally get to board the plane. In two + hours I would get to see my wife.
After landing in Toronto I waited 40 minutes for the airport staff to bring a chair up for me to exit the plane. The lady said that they were still looking for my power wheelchair. After 30 more minutes she asked me if I could just come back tomorrow for it. Ok, I'll put off being disabled until it's convenient for you to locate my power chair. Shortly after the comment my chair arrived all in pieces. Luckily my helper put it all back together again. However, it had a lot of excessive scratches on it. I began driving it and the right tire was making a noise.
I decided to make a claim. The customer service guy said that they do not grant claims for superficial damages like excessive scratches.
Now, my power chair does not define me, but it is a part of me. I'm in it from 7:30am - 5pm and present to colleagues and customers from my chair. So when my chair is banged up it takes away from my normal good looking appearance. No one would go to work everyday with torn cloths or present in a torn suit...so how is this superficial? After I explained this to the customer support dude he became embarrassed. He approved the claim now I have to organize getting it fixed with their supplier.
At the end of the day it took me 12 hours to fly back home which should have taken 4 hours. My wife was waiting for me with open arms. While in Minnesota I spent a total of 8 hours waiting for 15 minute wheelchair cab rides from the hotel to the Minnesota office. Despite this I love what I do. I would not trade it for anything.
Until next time...