Paraplegic athlete Justin Levene was left embarrassed when he had to drag himself across the floor through Luton Airport after his self-propelling wheelchair was left behind on a flight.
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He is now suing Luton Airport after he had to drag himself across the floor because his wheelchair didn’t arrive.
Though the staff had offered to push him on a rigid high-backed chair, he refused to say it removed his independence.
Levene told the BBC: “I was angry that none of the staff seemed to understand the position or seemed to have any empathy for what was happening.”
“There should be appropriate equipment in every single airport. If something does happen, no-one should be put in the position that they are forced to crawl through the airport or drag themselves along the floor.”
“And there should be some form of equipment to move independently. Someone whose chair is their legs shouldn’t be forced to be reliant on others for help.”
“I’ve worked very hard for a number of years to try and maintain all of my independence,”
“To be in one of the chairs they were offering would make me feel humiliated and degraded.”
“They insisted in trying to strap me down in it. I wouldn’t have been able to adjust myself, and would have been at risk of getting a pressure sore.”
Levene from north London coughed and herniated a disc when he was 20. He was left paralyzed after an operation to fix the problem went wrong. Since then, he relies on his self-propelling wheelchair.
In a statement the airport said:
“On discovering that Mr. Levene’s flight had arrived without his wheelchair, our teams worked hard to find a solution, offering Mr. Levene an assisted wheelchair as a temporary replacement.”
“Mr. Levene declined all offers of help as he deemed them unacceptable. While we apologize if Mr. Levene was dissatisfied with the service he received, we are satisfied that our agents and staff did all they could in difficult circumstances.”