Those who attended our 2004 Northwest CMH Affiliation Conference in Scottville or our 2007 Northwest CMH Affiliation Consumer Conference in Ludington may recall our keynote motivational speaker, Johnnie Tuitel. Johnnie gave a highly entertaining and thought provoking session on “Pay It Forward” in 2004 and “Handicapitalism,” in 2007. At both conferences, he spoke about the business he founded, Alternatives in Motion, which helps provide people with disabilities with needed wheelchairs.
Johnnie has been making national news this past week after being asked to get off an airplane shortly before take-off because of his disability. Johnnie has flown over 500,000 miles during his speaking career and says this is the first time he has ever had any trouble. After he got off the plane he was able to rebook and travel alone on a different airline.
You can watch Johnnie explaining what happened on a video here: Johnnie Tuitel, told he’s ‘too disabled’ to fly alone (Prime News: HLN)
Michelle Mohr, a US Airways spokeswoman, has been quoted as saying, “He did not appear to have the ability to assist himself in evacuating in the event of an emergency. He appeared to have a lot of difficulty moving.”
“Ironically, I’m glad US Airways removed motivational speaker Johnnie Tuitel from his seat on a Sept. 23 flight because he was ‘too disabled to fly.’ If the airlines hadn’t, most of us may never have heard of him or his inspirational message of ‘handicapitalism.’”
A Google search on “Johnnie Tuitel” and “Airline” will give you results from all over the country. In addition to the link on his name above, here are a few links to learn more about the news story:
- CNN 10/15/10 article: Airline cites safety in ousting of wheelchair-bound frequent flyer
- CNN Travel 10/15/10 article Passenger: Airline said I’m ‘too disabled’ to fly alone
- ABC News 10/19/10 Man in Wheelchair Called ‘Too Disabled’ to Fly