an Oh Myyy Property

Amputee Says He Had To 'Crawl Across The Floor' After United Airlines Confiscated The Batteries For His Scooter

CBC News / YouTube

Stearn Hodge has been fighting for years, but it looks like he may finally get his day in court.

Back in 2017, he planned an anniversary trip with his wife from their home in Canada to Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to Mr. Hodge, that trip was ruined by United Airlines.

Mr. Hodge is a double amputee. After a work accident back in the 80's he lost one arm and one leg.

Doctors do not suggest he wear prosthetic devices because he has a high risk of infection. Mr. Hodge has used a mobility scooter to get around since. That scooter is powered by a lithium-ion battery.

Here is Mr. Hodges, his wife and the scooter.

CBC News / YouTube

Normally, these batteries are not allowed on airplanes because they pose a slight fire risk, but most airlines make exceptions for people with disabilities or illnesses as long as they get prior approval.

Knowing this, Mr. Hodges got that approval before his three-week anniversary trip to another country.

He brought along all required documentation of his condition and his prior approval, as well as a print-out of the airlines rules. Still, when he arrived for his flight nobody would listen to him or read any of the documents he brought along.

The Canadian Air Transit Security Authority (CATSA) agent confiscated his battery as well as his back-up battery, which both cost approximately $2,000 each.

Mr. Hodge even asked for an agent from United Airlines to confirm with travel security that he had, indeed, gotten the prior approval required.

The agent confirmed, but still sided with security and refused to allow the batteries aboard the flight:

"I still remember the CATSA agent saying, 'Well, you could get a wheelchair.' How's a one-armed guy going to run a wheelchair? How am I going to go down a ramp and brake with one hand? But that shouldn't even have to come up."

Because of the nature of his amputations, Mr. Hodges cannot operate a standard wheelchair. He also cannot "scoot" on his bottom the way some double amputees can.

Without his scooter, he has to crawl face-down on his belly on the floor. It's not only humiliating, it's dirty and potentially dangerous.

Mr. Hodges demonstrated for CBC news.

CBC News / YouTube

Since the airline confiscated both of his batteries, he was forced to not only crawl through the flight, but spend much of his three-week anniversary trip confined to a bed, unable to do the activities he had planned with his wife.

"An anniversary is supposed to be all about remembering how you fell in love ... and keeping that magic alive, and those things were denied. I'm crawling across the floor and it is pathetic."

The airline issued an apology and offered him travel credits, but since then he tried to use them and was stopped with the same issue more than a dozen times. Now, he wants to take his complaints before The Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Mr. Hodges isn't here asking for new laws or regulations to be put in place; he is fighting to force airlines to comply with the regulations that already exist. Currently, none of the airlines that have blocked him from flying with his approved medical device have seen any sort of punitive action.

Check out this interview:

Amputee calls for human rights action after scooter battery seized | CBC Go Public

As news of his fight made rounds online, people have responded with nothing short of outrage.

Shamefully, this isn't the first instance of United Airlines treating disabled passengers as less-than.

A quick Twitter search turned up some horrific posts.

A T-shirt worn by a child became a point of contention between two mothers whose kids are in a playgroup together.

The offended mother, codenamed "Karen," disapproved of the phrase on the toddler's shirt to such a degree, she confronted the child's mother through a series of texts and threatened to ban him from their playgroup.

Keep reading... Show less

Riverside County Animal Services, RivCOanimalsPIO/Youtube

Justice was served for Deborah Sue Culwell, the woman who dumped seven newborn puppies into a dumpster on a balmy day in April.

A judge sentenced the 54-year-old from the city of Coachella in Riverside County, California, to 365 days in county jail after she pleaded guilty to all charges of animal cruelty.

Keep reading... Show less

They say that some of the greatest comedy springs from the greatest tragedy.

And that sentiment is most certainly true when it comes to Stephen Colbert.

While many know the comedian as a smart, funny, and charismatic late night personality from critically acclaimed shows like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, it may come as a surprise that Colbert has dealt with an incredible amount of loss in his life.

Keep reading... Show less

Let's be honest, divorce sucks pretty bad in the traditional sense. There's a lot of heartache and paperwork involved - and that's if it's an amicable divorce. If there's some animosity, the process can be straight up traumatizing - but it's 2018 and we're all about making the best out of the worst, so let's find those silver linings, shall we? Divorce isn't all bad. Turns out, it's gone some pretty sweet bonuses attached.

Keep reading... Show less

Full confession, my closest friends often tell me I'm the dumbest genius they know. I breezed through school, handle advanced concepts with ease - and I spent ten minutes looking for my phone in the dark by using the flashlight app on my phone. The saddest part is I didn't even realize how dumb I was being on my own. I tried to recruit my ten-year-old to help me and she just stood there staring at the phone in my hand with the sort of silent pre-teen judgy face you see in sitcoms.

Keep reading... Show less

I'm not a people person...

Some of us are gregarious, loud, thrill seeking (often obnoxious) introverts. We love everything and anything social. Are opposite friends are introverts. We look at them and can't help but feel... they just need a little friendly shove into the fun. Not so. Often they are perfectly content in their quiet company of one. Many do have a crippling social anxiety that can drive them to some interesting predicaments when they are thrust into a public situation.

Keep reading... Show less