Living and laughing with a disability - cerebral palsy; ordinary life, extraordinary circumstances.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Johnnie is "too disabled" to fly

Too disabled to fly...totally bizarre!

US Airway employees wheeled inspirational speaker Johnnie Tuittel onto the plane and seat belted him into place. An agent then returned and wheeled him off the plane. He was told he was a danger to himself and others, that he would need a companion with him if he wanted to fly. : Grand Rapids : UPDATE: Grand Rapids man with cerebal palsy removed from US Airways flight

Johnnie is a professional motivational speaker. His website is extensive and impressive. He has even authored an acclaimed series of children adventure books, the Gun Lake Adventure series.

I have not flown since I was a kid. I was always treated well by the airlines. Even though I'm ambulatory (able to walk) I remember being wheeled from gate to gate by airline employees. I remember being wheeled onto a plane at least once. I remember boarding early, and I think I was first to get off. The staff on the plane was always very responsive to my needs. Jodie says she experienced the same when she use to fly.

Married 20 years and we have never flown anywhere together...I know...we are not that exciting.

The disturbing part of how Johnnie was handled is how the airline was able to perceive Johnnie as being "too disabled" and were able to act on that perception. Johnnie has flown an half million miles with no trouble.

I can't relate to Johnnie's recent experience on the plane, but I do know what it is like to be in and out of my comfort zone.   Most places I go to anymore are places I have been to before.  People know me, or at least have seen me before.

Occasionally I find myself in a situation around people who don't know who I am or what I'm about.  I get the looks - "why is he driving that bus...he can't hardly sign the receipt!"  And, many people assume that since I have cerebral palsy that I must also have a mental disability as well.

We all judge each is human nature.  Usually these judgement are in the form of a stare, or a comment.

To get kicked off a plane because of these kind of judgments...

I hope Johnnie's career soars with all this publicity...and I hope the airline has a wonderful opportunity to learn an important lesson.


Thursday, October 14, 2010


Thank you Dixie for sending this my way:

<a href="" target="_new" title="">Fantasy Fix: Waiver Wire</a>

Temper @ Terrible Palsy

Pint sized wisdom far greater than my own.

"Because" is the perfect answer.

If we quit doing the mental acrobats of trying to fit each other into our own frame of reference and learned to just accept each other, wouldn't the world be a better place.

Moo is six I believe. Truly a voice the world needs to hear!

Master C then asked me why Moo has cerebral palsy? He told me that he gets asked all the time at school.

“They shouldn’t be asking you,” Moo said. “They should be asking me.”

Sometimes it astounds me how grown up that little boy is. I asked Moo what he would say if he was asked that question.

He thought about it for a couple of seconds before replying, “Because.”

No. No other reason that just because.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I can't say "Thank you" enough!

I usually don't take my scooter into work, but today was so beautiful.  I took my scooter in so I could do a Safeway run at lunch.

After work I went to load my scooter into our Sprinter van.  I let the lift down, backed my scooter on, then I pressed the "up" button.  Hydraulic fluid started spraying out...not a good sign!

The lift would not go up...the more I tried, the more I was sprayed with hydraulic fluid.  Shannon was moving the state cars around for the parking lot re-striping.  She went and got Russ.  Brian, David and Vicky came out.  Connie offered to drive me home.

David called Triple A.  They don't provide towing for Sprinters...Jodie is going to call tomorrow. Why keep paying them if they can't tow us?

I tried to pump the lift up manually, but that requires there to be hydraulic fluid..something I did not know. We got the instructions for the lift out of the glove box.  There wasn't any other way to get the lift up.

I was worried about how late I would be hanging out waiting for help.  122nd & Powell...not the safest area at night.

Jodie was able to call the after hours emergency number of Performance Mobility.  A technician named Gene was only ten minutes away, cruising down 122nd.  In less than ten minutes Gene was there on his black motorcycle.

To get the lift up, Gene needed a couple strong guys.  Shannon went and got Russ and Ryan.  She also grabbed a cooler.  Gene carefully explained that they would need the lift the lift, slide the cooler under it to hold it off the ground a ways, get under the lift and lift it the rest of the way up.  When the lift was all the way up, they would need to push it upright into the van and not let could pop back out with great force.  Gene closed the door.

I need to get the van into the shop ASAP.  I'll be doing that after my dental appointment in the morning.  Sounds like it could take a week to get the parts in.  We might need to rent a van from them...not quite sure how all that is going to work out...

Thank you Vicky for wiping up the hydraulic fluid in the van...what a mess that was!

Incredible help from a incredible cast...Thank you!