SALT LAKE CITY — A Canadian amputee has filed a new petition to have his case heard by the Canadian Human Rights Commission after officials at an airport in Calgary reportedly confiscated the batteries he needs to power his scooter, CBC reports.
The Canadian man, Stearn Hodge, lost his left arm and right leg from a workplace accident in 1984. Since that time, he has used a scooter that uses lithium batteries to move around.
In 2017, Hodge traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his wife for their wedding anniversary. A security agent at the Calgary International Airport, who was also a representative from United Airlines, told him it was unsafe to fly with that battery, which cost $2,000, CBC reported.
Without the batteries, the scooter wouldn’t work, which left Hodge confined to his bed for three weeks.
Hodge said he earned approval from the International Air Transport Association with prepared documents. But no one would listen to him, according to CNN.
- "I still remember the CATSA agent saying, 'Well, you could get a wheelchair.' How's a one-armed guy going to run a wheelchair?" Hodge told the outlet. "How am I going to go down a ramp and brake with one hand? But that shouldn't even have to come up."
Hodge asked a United Airlines agent to confirm that he received permission, but the agent sided with the security team, according to CBC.2 comments on this story
- "We are looking into the allegations, and because of the pending litigation, we are unable to provide further comment," Andrea Hiller, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, told CNN. "That said, the experience described falls far short of our own high standard of caring for our customers. We are proud of the many steps we have taken over the past few years to exhibit more care for our customers and we are proud to operate an airline that doesn't just include people with disabilities but welcomes them as customers."
According to The Hill, an airline complaint resolution sent an email to Hodge that there may have been a violation of federal disability requirements. The email reportedly offered Hodge and his wife an $800 travel certificate.