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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Itzhak Perlman mistreated at Toronto’s Pearson Airport

By Michael Vincent on April 1, 2014

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On the afternoon of Monday March 31st, Itzhak Perlman had arrived in Toronto to attend and perform at a charity concert at the Roy Thomson Hall.  While at the airport, he was abandoned by an airport employee who had been assigned to help the disabled violinist with his baggage.

Mr. Perlman’s managers stated that because he is disabled and moves around with the aid of crutches and a scooter, he requires special assistance throughout the airport. They had confirmed this with Air Canada when they booked his ticket.

The problem began when Perlman had departed the aircraft at Pearson airport and was met at the gate by a disability assistant. Mr. Perlman stated that he could not recall if the employee worked for the airport or Air Canada.

The agent had walked him to an elevator and then told him he was on his own from there on out.

Pointing to his three bags, crutches and his violin, he asked the airport agent how we was going to get through customs without any help.

Mr. Perlman said the employee replied “’Look, I’m not your personal assistant, you’re not paying me for this, you’re the one who chose to carry an extra bag with you.”

At this point the employe responsible for assisting him walked away. Perlman proceeded to load up the luggage on his lap, “holding on to it for dear life,” and then moved on through the airport without the help he both requested and required.

In a statement to the National Post, Pearlman stated, “I’ve been coming to Toronto for 40 years; this has never happened to me before like this, it’s just absolutely unbelievable. I felt so unwelcome, and it was funny; every place I would go there were big letters saying ‘Welcome to Canada.’”

Air Canada have stated that they are very troubled by this account, and are actively investigating the incident.

 

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Update: the CBC has posted a video of Perlman explaining his story here.

 

Michael Vincent

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