Air Canada destroys Toronto disability advocate's wheelchair
Maayan Ziv boarded an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv on Sept. 7 on her way to an accessibility conference. When she landed, she discovered that her independence had been stripped away from her.
Ziv, who is a disability activist and the founder of Access Now, found her wheelchair destroyed, leaving her stranded, devastated and in pain at the Tel Aviv airport.
The Toronto woman said on social media that she took every precaution to ensure her mobility device would be protected, arriving to the airport extra early to bubble wrap it and explain to staff how to transport it safely.
But it was destroyed nonetheless, and Ziv said this was not the first time her wheelchair was broken while travelling.
"When I show up and I see a wheelchair that used to be my form of independence smashed to pieces, it just signals to me that I wasn't considered, that I don't matter," she said on social media.
"This cannot continue happening to disabled people. This wheelchair is my mobility. My entire life is powered by this wheelchair."
According to CBC News, Air Canada initially only offered Ziv a $300 voucher despite the wheelchair's $30,000 price tag, but they've since agreed to pay for the repairs or a replacement.
Still, Ziv said it's not enough, because the real issue is how people with disabilities are treated while travelling.
"This issue is global," she said. "The discrimination people with disabilities face when travelling has gone on too long. It is systemic, it is pervasive, it is violence and has caused trauma to thousands of people beyond repair."
Since sharing her experience on social media, Ziv's story has resonated with many people with disabilities who've endured similar hardships, and they've reached out to share their own stories with her — showing just how pervasive the issue is and how badly things need to change.
"No longer can we remain quiet and allow this to continue," she said. "This discrimination must stop. Airlines must be held accountable. Enough is enough."
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