Nancy Xia says she’s usually a lamb … unless that accessible stall is taken by someone who doesn’t need it.
If I could use an animal to describe who I am, I’d say “a lamb” — sissy, soft spoken, slow to anger, blah blah blah. . . But I am totally aware of the fact that there is another personality lurking behind that supposed gentleness, always ready to devour my prey when necessary. The claws had come out a couple times in the past and coincidentally it has always happened in a public washroom. Yes, I think you know where this is going. I turn into a lioness when people abuse the only accessible stall in a half-empty washroom.
It all started when I was still a student in University. The accessible stalls in my school were particularly luxurious, featuring their own sinks and vanities. One fateful afternoon, I was quietly waiting for a stall to free up. According to my observation under the door, the occupant was someone who managed to walk comfortably in high heels and worse, she was busy checking herself in the mirror. I was losing patience as my class had already started. Though I was mad as hell, the little lamb was silent under the knife of the slaughter. Then, another girl came out of her stall and noticed the situation. “Is someone in there?” she asked. “Yes.” She knocked the door with fierce passion: “Excuse me, someone needs to use this.” Within 10 seconds, the door was opened. The person came out, said “sorry,” but not to me, to the other girl. Though I really appreciated the help, I decided that I would never again let another person stand up for me. I have a voice of my own and sometimes I have to roar.
I became increasingly confident and unapologetic when confronting people in similar situations. The most memorable encounter took place when I was watching Les Miserable in an elegant theater. During intermission, I took the elevator to go to a lower level where the designated accessible washroom was located. This washroom had a wheelchair sign on the door. There was absolutely no excuse. As soon as I exited the elevator, I saw a nicely-dressed lady leave the line to the inaccessible bathrooms and walk toward the only accessible washroom. I sped up and tried to reach it before she did, but I was too late, she shut the door right in my face. I was boiling inside like a pissed-off volcano, about to explode lava all over the place. All the women lining up outside of the washroom saw what happened. They were expecting a scene. All of the sudden, waiting in line with a full bladder wasn’t a chore anymore. While waiting in my line, I was thinking hard about various ways of making her the most miserable character of the play. Finally, she came out, there was this “uh-oh” expression on her face. “Sorry.” She said it sheepishly. To be fair, she meant it. I said nothing but slammed the door really, really hard in a theatrical style. There! I exited the scene like a drama queen. It was sassy and classy at the same time. …
Two weeks ago, my best friend told me about her recent conflict over an accessible stall. She said this lady came from behind and got into the accessible stall right in front of her eyes, as if she was completely transparent. “WHAT!!” Immediately I had an image of this lousy piece of work — high maintenance, lots of makeup, repelling amount of perfume. … “What does she look like?” I wanted to confirm. “She is middle-aged, South-Asian, probably new to the country.” It shattered my expectation. “Hmm … perhaps, I should not take it too personally,” my friend said.
Afterwards, it got me thinking, could it be possible that some people had no idea what or whom an accessible stall is actually for? Thinking back, prior to my injury, did I ever abuse an accessible stall? I used to be very ignorant about people living with disabilities and I didn’t know how much those extra spaces meant for someone who uses a wheelchair. Also, judging by the fact that I was a little apathetic toward the disability community, I would say, I probably abused and misused the accessible stall without even remembering it. I was just lucky that I didn’t bump into a grudge-faced lioness waiting to tear up my day.
Since that conversation, I decided to be more forgiving and gracious toward people in circumstances like that. Perhaps a gentle reminder of what an accessible stall is for would be equally educational and memorable. Perhaps a lioness could settle with straw and grass because she’s a little lamb at heart.
Nancy Xia lives in Toronto, Canada, and sustained a spinal cord injury at the age of 18. Though the beginning of the journey was difficult, she endured and was able to see the silver lining of her injury. She says being a person with disability has humbled her and helped her see this world with a different perspective. She is now grateful about life and takes every day as a blessing. In recent years, writing has become her interest and passion. She is a blogger, a regular contributor of various publications, and is excited to become part of New Mobility and share her interesting encounters with everyone in the community
PHOTO COURTESY SCOTT HAMILTON
By Leah Hansen
On Feb. 6 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled assisted suicide as no longer illegal. The decision came after the original case — includings two citizens with irreversible medical conditions — challenged Canada’s provisions in court in 2011.
By the time Supreme Court heard the case, it was October 2014 and both original plaintiffs, Lee Carter and Gloria Taylor, had died. The final decision in Carter v. Canada was unanimous — the prohibition on assisted suicide violates section seven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Supreme Court suspended its ruling for 12 months to give the federal government time to adjust legislation. Ottawa took action in July by appointing three people to a consultation panel. By mid-November, they plan to produce a report to the Ministers of Justice and Health — not giving recommendations, but instead laying out various legislative options.
The appointment of these particular panel members generated some controversy. Catherine Frazee, Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov and Benoît Pelletier were all appointed with different areas of expertise related to assisted dying. However, Frazee and Chochinov were formerly Crown witnesses in the government’s appeal of the original 2012 ruling, and have formerly expressed opinions against assisted dying. Various media outlets have decried their involvement comes with bias towards the issue.
Frazee, a Professor Emerita at Ryerson and former co-director of RBC Ryerson Institute for Disability Studies, Research and Education, spoke with The Eyeopener on assisted dying, her role on the panel and the allegations of bias.
Why is the right to die important for Canadians?
It’s apparent that the issue of assisted dying is one that goes to the very heart of our human condition. It involves questions of individual autonomy and choice at the same time as it highlights human vulnerability and suffering. Some people feel strongly that they should have the right to choose how and when to end their life and that in a compassionate and caring society, we must honour this right with sensitivity and support. Other people are deeply concerned that assisted death will be more readily available than palliative care, or other supports that relieve suffering.
What will the rights of physicians be once new legislation comes into effect?
Any physician will have the right, as matter of conscience, to refuse to participate directly in euthanasia or assisted suicide. How this right will be reconciled with a patient’s right to seek assisted dying is one issue that our panel is asking Canadians to advise on.
What ethical issues must be considered while forming legislation?
If there are ethical issues still at play, these are issues pertaining to how we put this new practice into effect. Research suggests, for example, that people who are strongly in favour of assisted dying are predominantly white, well-educated and economically well-situated. In a nation both legally and ethically committed to equality and inclusion, we will need to ensure that our new laws do not disadvantage socially vulnerable and minority populations.
There’s been media coverage around this perceived bias. You and Dr. Chochinov were crown witnesses in the original BC Court of Appeals case. Would you agree this is an impediment to the appearance of impartiality?
If both Dr. Chochinov and I had not had longstanding careers in which we have demonstrated our ability not to be improperly influenced by our personal views, then I think one might have questioned the nature of the appointment. But I’m confident we’re doing our job with integrity and transparency.
What was your position on this issue before your appointment?
It’s a matter of public record that I was working with the disability rights community in Canada, that I was representing both the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Canadian Association for Community Living, and that in that role, those organizations were opposed. They put themselves on the line to stand against an amendment to permit assisted dying. For myself, I think that is history. The supreme court of Canada spoke very decisively on this issue and it’s not for me to resist the fact that we are now in a situation in Canada where we’re going to have assisted dying. From February of next year, it’s going to be permissible.
Change the conversation, change the world
Early Tuesday morning, five or six men beat, then shot in the back 22-year old Kiesha Jenkins, killing her, according to Philadelphia police reports. Jenkins becomes at least the 20th transgender woman murdered this year, and at least the 21st transgender or gender nonconforming person. Almost all of them have been women of color.
“One man pulled out a gun and she was shot twice in the back,” Homicide Capt. James Clark told Philadelphia Gay News. The attack took place around 2:30 in the morning, and Jenkins was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Police have yet to identify the suspects or the motive for Kiesha Jenkins’ murder.
“We will leave no stone unturned,” Officer Tanya Little, spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department Office of Public Affairs told The Advocate. “The victim’s gender is definitely something that investigators are looking into and we will consider her identity under the umbrella of all motives. We are canvasing the area where the homicide occurred for witnesses and investigators hope to examine available surveillance videos.”
“Jenkins’s death,” The Advocate notes, “which marks the 20th trans woman reported murdered in the U.S. this year, comes less than two months after advocates confirmed in August reports of three additional black trans women killed in the preceeding months.”
Vice News reports “Jenkins is the 21st transgender or gender nonconforming person to be killed this year alone, and the second transgender woman killed in Philadelphia, according to the LGBT advocacy group, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.”
Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims, whose district includes Philadelphia, and who announced yesterday he is running for Congress, posted a strong message on Facebook.
“HELP: Her name is Kiesha Jenkins! She was 22 years old, and murdered in cold blood on Tuesday morning while most of us were sleeping,” Sims wrote. “Having famous role models and magazine covers hasn’t made Trans* lives safer! WE have to do that! Already this year almost two dozen transgender and gender nonconforming people have been murdered because of hate and bigotry. This is the reality and needs to be said out loud until everyone understands.”
He ended the post, “#SayHerName”
When I was a kid I had two relatives severely disabled, one more than the other. My mom had a distant cousin who had a daughter barby she was severely cerbral palsic, she was non verbal had no control of her body in anyway, but evidently had a steven hawkins genius IQ.
Imagine being trapped in abody so out of your control but your brain could take PI to the fiftieth decimal point? it must have been a living hell.
My other cousin was very cool very smary ,great to hang with but he had mild cerebral palsy and was blind. he was completely self sufficient, he cared for himself he made his own money, the one thing both had in common was if their parents had listened to the bureaucracy they would have been thrown away at birth.
barby was amazing and so smart, she couldn’t feed herself and one example of her intellect was when during one of her numerous hospital stays a bitchy lazy nurse who refused to feed her slopped a bowl of porridge infront of her and laughed”genius huh? then feed yourself” well we asked the nurse to comeback but barby had other ideas the nurse dumped breakfast on the over tray about an hour before we got there and when we arrived it was cold.
We went looking for her, when we found her she refused and said “she had better things to worry about”.
So we went back and were about to feed her when the bitch walked in, Barby got that famous mischievious look in her eyes and as the nurse got close she seemed to try and aim her arm and swing at the porridge, the first time she missed, the econd time was closer but the third time she swung the nurse wore it all over her front and barby started laughing hysterically and smiling like a cheshire cat, now who was the smart one?
my blind cousin turned out to be a expert on computers in the early days and made a good living, But because of the antebellum attitudes to the disabled barby died of choking when another impatient nurse shoved food in because she was in a hurry and there was no legal recourse because she was deemed so disabled her death from something like this was inevitable.
When my great grandma was an elderly woman in the sixties the disabled and elderly used to be pushed out like cattle onto the porch all day and left unattended for so long many sat in their own excrement but noone cared they were past their used by dates according to the medical model of the day.
The medical module for disabled care for most of the twentieth century were large goverment looking grey cement buildings many windowless where the disabled were warehoused never to see daylight unless it was family day when they would be cleaned up of their own waste put into real actual clothes and spoken about by nurses like they were mindless plebians who even if they were noticed were considered of no interest so they would be spoken about and over but never ever too, and any activities if they ever cared to think them necessary were usually barely one step above finger painting for toddlers.
During these early exposures for the world of the disabled,even though I was in my world as a chronic epileptic was treated as less then human so often I was still only seeing from the outside in to places with archaic names like “MINDA HOUSE” or the south australian “SPASTIC” center. or the center for the care of the “RETARDED” when ever they were allowed to leave they were transported like livestock in buses painted in garish cloros with these disgusting terms painted two feet high normally surrounded by flowers or puppys and kittens so stealth and retaining ones dignity were never an option.
When my son adam was born in 1989 he was born with aspergers, hydrochepalus mental and physical delay and two holes in his heart and a speech delay, so once again the world of the dis and otherwise abled became my world this time however I was the momma bear demanding that the level of care at least be upto date enough that one wasn’t required to blow dust off the binder of the text book written about it! by the time adam was starting regular school the world of disabled treatment and therapies wer slowly crawling somewhere near the century we lived in. We had therapists who cared ,doctors who shared and advances were actually achieved there were still the mausoleums and grey cement bunkers for the forgotten and thrown away but choices were at last at least offerred and discernible.
Fast forwar to the 2000,s and I myself am in the world of those who live with wheels under their asses and we have adaptive sporrts and spinal cord injury of america and life rolls on adaptive surfing and skating and adaptive rock climbing and the challenged atheletes foundation all modern cutting edge groups that refer to us as athletes not patients and were engaged not entombed we belong to society not to a sub culture. I’m not saying our world is perfect, far from it but we do at least have a world and it is allowed by those in power to rotate in the same galaxy as those who walk upright amongst us.
In the united states we have our civil rights carved in stone in the form of the Americans with disabilities act, we have our own sporting stars in the form of jesse billauer the founder of life rolls on and now the 2015 adaptive surfing world champion.
Aarron Wheelz fotheringham the star of Nitro circus the wcmx god and a light at the end of the tunnel we with wheels under our asses can aim for when the abelists tell us we should sit in the corner and dribble because we can’t do the hard things, the fun things, whether wheelz has actually ever flipped the bird half way through a triple back flip or not, by the very fact that he does these mindblowing stunts perpetually flips the bird to the attitudes of old and the medical modules that scream Keep that gimp in adult diapers a hospital gown and out of sight for godsake”
I’m sure if Barby was alive today she would be on a surfboard being pushed out to surf at a liferolls on event, and my blind cousin would be some kind of public advocate for the rights of the disabled.
Finally were allowed to be who ever we dream we can be , were allowed to reach how ever high we can dream and if we decide to base jump from the peak when we get there there is an adaptive club somewhere to teach us how. Otherwise abled is the new PC term ,but unlike all other forms of P.C. I have ever seen before, this one doesn’t scream bullshit it keeps the bullshit away you see when something is “DIS” it is deemed less than but when it is other wise it equal just alternative.
When I am at the top of a rockwall noone knows whose the wheelchair is, so for those few minutes I am not “dis” I am equal
When I am on my mountain top ranch land in new mexico building my cabin I am not “dis” I am queen of the hill I own all I survey
Reposted from a story online by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan
Filed to: ACCESSIBILITY9/24/15 7:30pm
It’s hard enough for most of us to get to work on time using the subway—but imagine if you only had access to 25 percent of stations. That’s the reality for wheelchair users in New York, for whom getting around the city is sometimes a near-impossible task. [CORRECTION]
The passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act–which happened 25 years ago this year–hasn’t had much impact on the New York subway system. After the anniversary of ADA rolled around this summer, a number of compelling posts about the flaws in the act included links to an interesting map drawn by Matthew Ahn, a New York-based lawyer and subway enthusiast (and the holder of the subway challenge record for visiting every station on the map the fastest, at 21 hours, 49 minutes, and 35 seconds).
The map below shows only those stations that are accessible. As Ahn told me, he got the idea for the map after he discovered the MTA’s official “night map,” a beautiful blue-tinted version of the MTA’s subway map that shows altered night service. “I found it odd that the MTA was willing to put together a map for this purpose but not for accessibility purposes—although considering the number of inaccessible stations, it makes a lot of sense,” Ahn told Gizmodo.
And here’s Ahn’s map of the stations that are accessible to wheelchairs, which was very easy to make, he says. “All accessible stations are marked on the main map, so it was actually pretty easy to take it one by one and decide ‘do I erase this station? yes? okay.’”
Of course, as he points out, the opening of the new 34 St/Hudson Yards station in the time since he drew it means that there’s one accessible station missing.
While the MTA is struggling to literally keep the lights on in its 100-year-old switch system, updates to the system’s accessibility have been slow. Meanwhile, the bus system is fragmented, and accessible cabs are tough to find. In an in-depth report looking at the problem on the anniversary of ADA by the Huffington Post, we learn that the problems extend far beyond the subway. Uber, for example, doesn’t provide any accessible cars at all. And as the ride-sharing service begins to seriously supplant the taxi system, the chances of getting a wheelchair-accessible car is getting even worse.
William Peace, who blogs about accessibility and the rights of the disabled on his blog Bad Cripple, also noted the disparity in August. In his post, he rails against the general celebrations surrounding the ADA, pointing out how the law has done precious little in many cities:
The ADA was a start, nothing more than a start that has not been supported by the general population of the United States. What I hear again and again is the ADA is an unfunded social mandate. This disturbs me. The ADA is Civil Rights legislation designed to protect the rights of people with a disability. Frankly, the law is weak, poorly written, and ignored.
It’s been a problem for decades—but as new transit infrastructure emerges in the form of new lines and new apps, like Uber and Lyft, it’s time for us, and our government, to revisit the law and fight for one that actually affects change.
Correction: A previous version of this post stated that the number of accessible stations was less than 20 percent. It has been updated to 25 percent, to reflect comments from MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg, who points out that MTA is ahead of schedule on its goal of making 100 Key Stations accessible by 2020:
The MTA New York City Subway has more ADA-compliant stations than any other system in the country. We are ahead of schedule on our plan to make 100 Key Stations accessible by 2020, with 85 completed, four underway, and the remaining 11 included in our next five-year Capital Program (which includes $561 million for accessibility improvements). Those Key Stations were chosen based on ridership, transfer connections and proximity to major destinations. In addition, we have made 21 non-Key Stations accessible, and have allocated $100 million in our next Capital Program for additional non-key stations.
For many people with a disability, life is no picnic. It can be more like a famine, in which survival depends on unwanted scraps.
The annoying thing about this scarcity – felt in work opportunity, education and all the most usual forms of inclusion – is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The bodies of people with a disability may sometimes produce “natural” disadvantages, but these are as nothing compared with disadvantages produced by the social world.
There are good people who understand that disability isn’t really a “survival of the fittest” problem, but the problem of an unfit society. This week, focusing on two incidents, many of these good people expressed frustration at the scarcity of respect disabled people face.
Neither incident, I’d argue, merited all the passion. Particularly when we consider that a third socially-produced disadvantage was able to unfold more powerfully in the lives of disabled people, without much comment. We’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s look at the two disturbing incidents that ignited concern, before illuminating the really disturbing one.
Getting a job twice as hard for people with disabilities
If you are an Australian living with a disability, the chances of finding employment are much harder – even if your condition does not stop you working.
The first occurred more than half a century ago and is the gauche work of a man long dead. Footage of John Lennon did not so much “surface” on a UK TV show this week, as has been claimed, but was widely broadcast for the first time in the age of social media. Video of Lennon performing the ableist version of blackface—or “spack-face” as the practice is wryly known by some disability activists—has been distributed by YouTube and television specials for years.
James was treated as a disability and not, as he is, a man.
Let’s overlook the facts that “spack-face” was unfortunately common in that era, that John Lennon was always a prick and that yelling at a corpse is unlikely to produce a result. Let’s even allow that some of the people screaming into the grave of open ableism were genuinely surprised that some of the things that were acceptable 50 years ago are no longer acceptable. Let’s accept that this distress is noble.
And let’s also accept that widespread shock at the recent shabby treatment of a Brisbane man with Down syndrome is noble. It is. This week, hundreds of thousands of Australians leapt to condemn the entirely condemnable actions of a security guard who refused to admit 21-year-old James Milne, mistaken for an alleged shoplifter presumed also to have Down syndrome.
Understandably, Milne’s sister Victoria was appalled when James was treated as a disability and not, as he is, a man. Moreover, he is a man whose hair and skin colours were markedly different to those of the alleged shoplifter. This appeared a clear case of dull ableism.
Anyone who carries around visible evidence of a disability knows just how frustrating such prejudice can be. It can prevent you from shopping, finding work in order to fund any shopping, and from simply enjoying an hour of life where the world doesn’t afflict you with nonsense.
It is real and noble passion that provokes the Facebook activism of those who support Milne – and even of those who punish a man 35 years dead. But, it’s a passion so appealing and simple, it helps us overlook the biggest thing that happened this week for Australians with a disability.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme appears to have become a second tier issue.
If there’s a doorman to inclusion this week, it might be Malcolm Turnbull. It was therefore a shock that the cabinet reshuffle on Sunday did not feature a parliamentary secretary—or assistant minister as Turnbull prefers—for disability. It was a shock that the National Disability Insurance Scheme appears to have become a second tier issue.
Senator Mitch Fifield, the former parliamentary secretary and shadow minister for disabilities, may have been promoted in government, but the rollout of the NDIS, whose responsibility now falls to the overstuffed social services portfolio, is at great risk of little attention.
It was a shock with potentially immense reverberations. It was barely reported.
Most public toilets inaccessible to people with disabilities
When you’re out and nature calls, it’s reassuring to know that a public toilet is not far away. But what if you’re unable to access the amenities?
And, no. This parliamentary tale, which you may well have stopped reading halfway through, is not as thrilling as rude pop stars or cruel security guards. There is no clear devil here and no obvious victim. It provides scant opportunity for conspicuously noble activism.
But what conspicuous activism can sometimes provide is the opportunity for the real – often very boring – ways that we meaningfully remove social disadvantage to remain undiscussed. What feels like a victory in “changing attitudes” is often a failure to see the path to really changing lives.
Pedestrian in wheelchair could be trapped on curb cut, unable to turn around and no place to go. Photo courtesy Michigan chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America.
The Michigan chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living (AACIL) are suing the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and county and local governments over a lack of accessibility on sidewalks, bus stops, and crosswalks.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in late August 2015 alleges that MDOT as well as the Washtenaw County road commission and the Ypsilanti and Pittsfield townships have failed to bring sidewalks, bus stops, and crosswalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and in some cases, have eliminated previously accessible paths of travel.
“The Michigan chapter of Paralyzed Veterans sued Ann Arbor in 2004 and Ypsilanti in 2005 and was successful in getting them to fix sidewalks and curb ramps,” said attorney J. Mark Finnegan. “But as soon as you get outside the city limits, everything changes. It’s like the Wild West.”
The detailed complaint filed by the Michigan chapter and AACIL includes 21 photographs that illustrate some of the hundreds of problem areas in Washtenaw County that fail to comply with the ADA, including many that are dangerous to citizens with disabilities. Among examples cited include water pooling at curb cuts, large potholes or cracks in crosswalks or sidewalks, as well as curb cuts with “compound slopes” that can cause a wheelchair to tip over. View some of the photos included in the complaint at this link.
Finnegan said some areas in Washtenaw County now are going so far as eliminating curb cuts altogether. “It’s 25 years after the passage of the ADA, so you would think by now all of the sidewalks would be accessible,” Finnegan said. “But there are examples all over where they are not, and in some cases like these curb cuts, we’re actually going backwards. Many curb cuts have been replaced with solid curbs with grass planted over them.”
Michael Harris, executive director of the Michigan chapter, said another hope of the lawsuit is to force cities and towns across the state to begin creating accessible alternate routes during construction projects. “Often alternate routes are created for automobiles so people can still drive around the construction, but they don’t think about the people living there who need to navigate the area,” he said. “Our goal is to get uniformity across Michigan.”
Paralyzed Veterans of America and Finnegan have a proven track record of bringing cities into ADA compliance for sidewalks, bus stops and crosswalks, including lawsuits against Chicago and Detroit that resulted in the installation of 100,000 and 65,000 new curb ramps, respectively. “Still, when you look at the whole country, its like taking a cup of water out of the ocean,” Finnegan said.
Above all, Finnegan, the Michigan Chapter and AACIL hope all levels of government will begin to understand the importance of the ADA and role accessible streets and sidewalks serve in enabling individuals with disabilities to be full participants in society.
“When Congress passed the ADA, they said it would be meaningless if people didn’t have the ability to move around America’s streets and sidewalks,” Finnegan said. “A business makes its store or workplace accessible, and buses become wheelchair-accessible, and yet it’s all pointless because people with disabilities have no way to get to and from.”
Veteran claims he was kicked off American Airlines flight at LAX after gate agents accused his award-winning service dog of being a fake
Captain Jason Haag was booked on a flight from LAX on American Airlines
The veteran had arranged to take his service dog Axel on flight with him
But he claims gate agents refused to let him and Axel on board the plane
Said the staff accused the dog of being a fake despite him wearing a harness and vest
Reposted from a story already online By JENNIFER NEWTON FOR MAILONLINE
Jason Haag, with his dog Axel at the American Humane Association Awards on Sunday, where the dog won an award
A veteran Marine who uses a service dog claims he was stopped from boarding a flight after agents at the gate accused the animal of being a fake.
Captain Jason Haag, of Fredricksburg, Virginia, was wounded in action in Afghanistan and has was given dog, Axel, to help him manage post traumatic stress disorder.
A the weekend Mr Hagg along with his wife and Axel travelled to Los Angeles, where the dog was named the best service dog at the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.
However, when they tried to fly back to Virginia from LAX on Sunday night on American Airlines, Mr Haag says he was denied access to the plane after he was unable to prove that Axel was a service dog not a pet.
He says this is despite them flying out to the event with no problems and them calling ahead to make sure Axel could fly with them.
Axel was also wearing a harness and vest clearly identifying him as a service dog, and the airline was given credible verbal assurance at the time a boarding pass was issued.
But the gate agents did not believe the animal was a service dog and refused Axel boarding.
He wrote on his Facebook page: ‘We made it easily through security, turned our bags in, ate lunch at the airport and then sat at the gate for over two hours in clear view of the employees.
‘Five minutes before boarding they made an announcement the plane was full and that’s when I was pulled out of line.
‘They had my wife in tears in front of 200 people as they brought more managers over to try and bully us.’
Mr Haag and his wife were then denied boarding to the flight home and had to spend an extra night in a hotel in California, while they acquired the necessary paperwork to show Axel is a service dog.
They eventually flew to their destination with American Airlines the next day and the company has since apologised to Mr Haag.
Mr Haag, pictured with Axel, claims on the flight home from LA, gate agents for American Airlines denied them boarding after they accused the dog of being a fake
The airline added: ‘American has a long and proud history of serving our military members, and hold the men and women who serve our country in the highest regard.’
Now he hopes that the incident will help to highlight the use of service dogs, not just for veterans but the disabled too.
Mr Haag told ABC: ‘I want to make a wrong a right.
‘The best thing that can come out of this is we need to pass something to make a national registration and national certification process for service dogs so this doesn’t happen again.’
Mr Haag, his wife and the dog, eventually flew back to Virginia on American the next day with the airline offering a full apology
Reposted from a story already online by The Mighty Staff Sep 18, 2015
Look who ended up being a softie.
Notoriously intimidating celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was quick to respond when a Twitter follower called Aaron Merry said he was fired from his job as a chef the same day he mentioned he has epilepsy.
When Merry asked Ramsay for advice, Ramsay tweeted back “That’s ridiculous DM I will offer you a job.”
Merry’s father, Steve, told BuzzFeed that the Ramsay group’s HR director later left a voicemail asking Aaron Merry to come to London for a meeting.
“It’s easy to say things on Twitter and not back it up,” Steve Merry told BuzzFeed. “We’re just incredibly appreciate of Gordon sticking to his word. It’s a testament to what kind of guy he is.