People who use wheelchairs on a regular basis continue to struggle with getting the same kind of respect and courtesy that people without wheelchairs get. This is especially true when they're about to board a plane, as wheelchair users often have to contend with unfriendly business practices that almost directly clash with their wheelchair necessities.
In one upsetting instance, a person trying to navigate an airline with their wheelchair had a "horrible" experience being pushed in their wheelchair without consent. They shared one snippet of their flight experience and the internet is rallying around them. Here's what happened.
This person in a wheelchair tries to educate airline staff on consent to pushing.
In early October 2023, Lottie on TikTok (@chronically_lottie) shared a video in which she had an incredibly difficult time dealing with airline staff members while in her wheelchair. According to her hashtag, the incident took place at Stansted Airport in London.
Lottie, who's reportedly been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, FND, and dysautonomia among other things, uses a wheelchair to navigate. Unfortunately, she wasn't treated with any respect while at the airport as she was being pushed around without their consent.
According to the video, Lottie contended with a male worker and a female worker at the airport, complaining that they shouldn't push her around without her express permission. Unfortunately, both workers proceeded to complain right back at Lottie.
"You should know about basic respect that you ask a wheelchair user before you push them," Lottie explained.
"Please don't speak to my staff like that," the female worker replied. As Lottie continued to try and get a word in, the female worker even threatened to wheel Lottie back to the gate.
The male worker pushing Lottie wasn't much help. In the middle of the video, he clearly stated to Lottie, "You're going on and on and on. You're now becoming one of the most awkward passengers I've ever met."
Lottie provided more harrowing details in the description of her video. She revealed that five people pushed her without asking or even talking to her and each of them reacted poorly when she tried to address it.
"They kept taking my items off me and doing things I could easily [do] for myself, going so fast [that] my friend with our suitcase trolly couldn't keep up," she said.
Consent before being pushed around in a wheelchair seems like the first thing you would consider when interacting with a wheelchair user on a professional level. After all, being moved around against your will in a high-stress environment sounds wildly dehumanizing.
Plenty of other TikTok users feel the same way.
One person wrote in the comments, "They could have de-escalated this so quickly. They just kept adding more inconsiderate comments. That's genuinely awful to listen to."
Another TikToker offered their sympathies, stating, "I'm so sorry they treated you so awfully. Please make an official complaint."
Sure enough, Lottie plans on making a complaint to the airport about how she was treated that day. Luckily, she has video evidence to back up whatever statement she wants to make.
Workers wouldn't forcibly move anyone else in that way, and wheelchair users should be offered the same courtesy, especially at an airport.