D'Arcee Neal: Outrage As Man With Cerebral Palsy Was Forced To Crawl Off Plane

Toni Matthews

D'Arcee Neal found himself caught in a humiliating situation, one that highlights the issues that still exist in terms of air travel for physically challenged individuals.

WRC-TV reports that Neal had flown from San Francisco, arriving at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday evening. D'Arcee, who has cerebral palsy, waited for a wheelchair for 15 minutes, as other passengers exited the plane, but none was forthcoming. He then asked when he would be wheelchaired out. He was told to wait. An additional 15 minutes passed and nothing.

There had been a mix-up at the gate, resulting in D'Arcee's wheelchair being taken away at the gate -- a new one had to be found. The problem was that Neal didn't have the luxury of time. D'Arcee Neal had to use the bathroom badly, and because of his condition, using the airplane's bathroom is practically impossible.

— New Day (@NewDay) October 27, 2015

"Half the time, I feel like airlines treat people with disabilities as a secondary concern."

After D'Arcee had crawled from the plane to the gangway, he saw his wheelchair. But none of the flight crew moved to help him.

"I expected them to ask to assist me, but they just stared."

However, someone did care. One of the flight attendants was very upset about the incident and felt a great deal amount of guilt concerning how they observed Neal being treated. This person felt so strongly about the incident that a report was made to United Airlines. A day after his flight, Neal was surprised to get a call from a United Airlines representative, apologizing for what happened.

"Quite frankly, I was just shocked, because this had happened a couple of times before (with various airlines), and no company had ever bothered to apologize when they've done something wrong."
"As customers began to exit the aircraft, we made a mistake and told the agent with the aisle chair that it was no longer needed, and it was removed from the area. When we realized our error -- that Mr. Neal was onboard and needed the aisle chair -- we arranged to have it brought back, but it arrived too late."

— New Day (@NewDay) October 27, 2015

[Image via D'Arcee Neal / Facebook]