Saturday, August 11, 2012

Best Western employee laughed at paralyzed veteran needing help

Paralyzed war veteran says hotel worker mocked his request for help
By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published August 10, 2012

A paralyzed Army veteran wants “major policy changes” from a national hotel chain following an incident in which he was mocked when he asked for help down a flight of stairs, his father told

Staff Sgt. Chad Staples, 28, was checking out of Best Western Plus Monahans Inn and Suites in Monahans, Texas, on Tuesday when he discovered the elevator was out of service, his father Robert Staples said.

The former Army sniper, who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in Baghdad in 2007, then called the front desk for help down the stairs from his third-floor room.

“He wanted somebody to take his bags and wheelchair down,” Robert Staples told by phone from his Maine home. “Basically, the girl said, ‘Are you serious?’ He said, ‘Uh yeah, I’m in a wheelchair. I need some help.’”

The hotel employee, Staples said, replied: “’What do you want me to do about it?’ She laughed at him.”

At that point, Staples said his son used a couple “poor word choices” by using two expletives.

“He said, ‘Are you [expletive] serious? I’m in an [expletive] wheelchair,’” Robert Staples said. “He then hung up the phone and then threw his bags and wheelchair down the stairs and slid down on his backside.”

Best Western representatives, in a statement posted Thursday on its website, apologized for the incident, citing a power outage that impacted the area.

“We spoke directly to Mr. Staples and offered a full and sincere apology and reimbursed his expenses while at Best Western,” the statement read. “Best Western has been an industry leader in proactively communicating ADA requirements to its hotels and provides extensive training to address the needs of our disabled guests.”
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