A Beyoncé superfan who missed the pop princess’s concert after being forced to miss his flight because the airline couldn’t carry his wheelchair has finally seen Queen Bey live after her loyal fans rallied around to help.
Jon Hetherington, 34, from Eugene, Oregon, had planned his journey to see Beyoncé in Seattle, Washington, but when he went to board the Alaska Airlines flight, he claims he was told he couldn’t take his electric wheelchair onboard the plane.
The lifelong Beyoncé fan claims that the crew tried to find him an alternative flight on an Airbus aircraft, which would be able to accommodate the chair, but the only one available landed in Seattle 12 hours too late.Jon, who needs the wheelchair because he has cerebral palsy, said the experience was a ‘systemic issue’ that reflected ‘ableism’ as he had to miss out on seeing Beyoncé.
However, after posting a video on social media detailing his predicament, the BeyHive caught onto Jon’s story, which then made its way back to the pop superstar herself – and before long, Beyoncé’s team arranged for Jon to see her in Texas.Speaking to the New York Times, Jon said he had been left ‘demoralized’ when he was forced to miss the Seattle show.
Although he was disappointed in Alaska Airlines, he insisted the problem went beyond just the one airline and was indicative of a wider issue with ableism on transport.
He explained the staff on the airline tried their best to help him get his wheelchair on the plane, making an effort to collapse it so it would fit. But in the end, the chair was four inches too tall.
When it became clear he would not be able to board the plane, Jon filed a disability complaint with the airline – which a member of staff helped him complete.
Jon explained that, although this is the first time he’s been barred from boarding a plane because of his disability, he has had several difficult experiences with air travel in the past.
Recalling a Janelle Monae concert he once attended, Jon said the flight he boarded was delayed for 20 minutes while his wheelchair was loaded onto the aircraft, which left him feeling embarrassed.
Then, after the show finished at the WaMu Theater in Seattle, he couldn’t find an accessible taxi anywhere in the city, and claims even the police couldn’t help him. In the end, he tried to find his own way back to his hotel using the GPS feature on his phone, but it lost battery, leaving him trawling the city all night.
He said that, although he considers ableism a ‘feature of [his] life’, he is fed up with facing difficulty when he tries to do a ‘normal thing’ like booking a concert.
After posting about his most recent upsetting experience on social media, Beyoncé’s loyal fans caught on to Jon’s story and were determined to help him see his pop hero.
Before long, the singer’s team reached out to him and offered him tickets to the concert in Texas, plus a flight to get him there and transportation at either end of the plane journey. He said: ‘I’m really grateful and very much appreciate that this is all happening. I hope people will actually engage with this stuff and not just let it go. That’s what’s important to me.
In other news – WATCH: How Minnie Dlamini’s ex-husband, Quinton celebrated his 40th birthday
Famous Mzansi media personality, Minnie Dlamini’s ex-husband, Quinton Jones celebrated his birthday last week, 12 September, and his close friend, the former YOTV presenter Sidwell ‘Psyfo’ Ngwenya has taken to his Instagram feed recently and given social media users a peek inside Jones’ intimate birthday party.
Last week, Psyfo announced that Quinton Jones had finally entered into the “fourth floor” on his birthday this year. “Happy birthday to a friend for life! Literally a day. Read