TikTok users heard what happened to a fan who missed a Beyoncé show after an airline said it could not accommodate his electric wheelchair and went to Werk!
Jon Hetherington, a die-hard fan of the singer missed the Renaissance Tour in Seattle. What made it even worse was he had waited 25 years for the day.
Hetherington, 34 donned in Beyonce gear, had arranged for a ride to the airport, but was devastated when he got to the gate at the airport last Thursday and was told Alaska Airlines could not accommodate the electric wheelchair Mr. Hetherington, who has cerebral palsy, relies on to get around.
The crew tried to get him on another flight that could accommodate his wheelchair, but the only one available would get him there 12 hours too late.
“This is a systemic issue, this is ableism, this is what I’ve dealt with my whole life,” Mr. Hetherington said in an interview. “I was demoralized by the whole thing.”
He then posted a video on social media detailing the incident, and that’s when the BeyHive stepped up for him. They tagged the singer and her management company to bring it to Beyoncé’s attention.
Hetherington was given a ticket to see Queen Bey on Thursday night in Arlington, Texas after representatives for her contacted him. They also got him a flight.
“I’m really grateful and very much appreciate that this is all happening,” he said. When it comes to making spaces more accessible, he said, “I hope people will actually engage with this stuff and not just let it go. That’s what’s important to me.”
“We have not built our society or this country in a way that is fully inclusive,” he said. “Day to day, we’re kind of ignored and invisible,” he said, referring to people with disabilities.
Notably, gate attendants tried to help Hetherington into an airport wheelchair, but were unsuccessful. He also credited them for being kind and helpful. The airline did agree to refund him for his flight.
“We feel terrible about our guest’s travel experience with us,” the airline said in a statement. “We’re always aiming to do better as we encounter situations such as this one.”
“Beyhive, you made this happen,” he posted to Instagram. “You pushed and tagged like the internet has never seen. Tonight, for the first time ever, I had a seat on the floor for a concert. Welcome to the RENAISSANCE.”