Longtime Beyoncé fan Jon Hetherington was set to fly out to Seattle, Washington, on September 14 to catch her Renaissance Tour performance. However, he was denied access to the flight because his wheelchair was reportedly too tall. After posting a video on TikTok about not being able to board the plane, Beyoncé took notice, flew Hetherington out, and gave him in a front-row seat at her next stop in Dallas.
In the now viral TikTok, Hetherington, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around, explained his situation. He began, “Well, I guess I’m not going to Seattle, and I’m not seeing Beyoncé.”
“Got to the airport…and they tell me that my chair is apparently four inches too tall to be loaded onto the plane, so they checked every possible flight with every airline, and nothing was available. So after 25 years of waiting, I’m not seeing Beyoncé tonight…ableism strikes again,” he said.
According to Hetherington, airline employees told him the chair wouldn’t fit due to the plane’s cargo capacity, and they were unable to collapse it down to size. Airline workers gave him a complaint resolution form and turned him away.
In an interview with NPR, Hetherington said that just two weeks earlier, he had successfully taken a flight to Seattle to see another concert with no issue from the airline.
He continued to open up about being turned away.
“I went outside, and I was just pissed. I was demoralized at that point. This is not about a concert,” he told NPR. “This is not about one artist. This is not about one airline. This is about systemic issues of ableism that are happening every day. Disabled people are dealing with this in society, in general, and our society has been built to exclude disabled people. That’s what’s important.”
The 34-year-old Beyoncé super fan posted an Instagram photo with Queen Bey. He wrote a heartfelt message in the caption of his post.
“To the queen herself @beyonce, I will treasure those words you said and the hugs you gave,” he penned on Instagram. “I meant every word I said. No, for anyone and everyone reading this, I will not ever share with you what was said to me, don’t even try it. That moment is between the two of us.”
Source: Black Enterprise