Violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman has published a facebook statement regarding his mistreatment by an airport disability assistant at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, last Monday.
The 68 year old, whose mobility is restricted to an electric scooter, was left unaided by an airport official clutching 3 pieces of luggage, his walking crutches and his 1714 Stradivarius instrument.
In an official complaint filed with Air Canada, it's alleged the airport disability assistant said, ‘Well, that’s where I leave you …. it’s not my problem that you chose to carry an extra bag … and besides, I’m not your personal assistant … you’re not paying me or anything …. I’ve got other flights to take care of .”
Mr Perlman's facebook statement reads as following:
'I would like to thank all of you who have expressed your support for the unfortunate incident I experienced during my recent travel through the Toronto airport. Hopefully the publicity surrounding this event will serve as a reminder that, while travel for everyone is difficult, for those of us with physical disabilities it can verge on the impossible. In the 50 plus years that I have been flying for work, I have learned that while infrastructure improvements (eg, wheelchair availability, accommodations for those with sight or hearing impairments etc) are important, what matters most is the attitudes of those we encounter along the journey. Whether it is airline and airport employees or even fellow passengers, it is their judgment, patience and thoughtfulness (or lack thereof) that makes the difference between a tough trip and a horrendous one. Your expressions of concern have meant a great deal to me and disabled travellers everywhere. Thank you.'
A spokesperson for Air Canada earlier this week released a statement saying: ‘We are looking into this regrettable situation.’