Going Viral: Man Fakes Disability and Abuses Accessibility Services

photo of airplane wing
Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels.com

Recently in the news, there has been a story circulating of a man who skipped an airline queue by using a wheelchair and obtaining assistance from staff. The only thing wrong with this is that he was not actually injured or disabled. This man made a TikTok video in which he documented his visit to an airport and his on-camera journey of faking an injury so that he could “skip the long queues so I don’t miss my flight.” In the video, he acquires a wheelchair and then is assisted by staff through an accessible entrance and onto the plane. He was given a whole row to himself due to his feigned injury. I would like to talk about why this is wrong.

Why Faking a Disability is Wrong

My first issue with the video should be a given. As a wheelchair user who does need extra help at an airport and requires accessible spaces, seeing an able bodied person feign an injury is an abuse of an already stretched thin resource that many of us need. Airlines do not like to treat disabled people and our equipment nicely. This guy was lucky enough to have been at an airport that had great accessibility. It saddens me to see someone blatantly abuse these services.

The Video Went Viral

My second issue comes from the fact that this video went viral. Everyone in the comments section applauded this guy for his “amazing idea” and many are saying that they may try it themselves. I cannot stress this enough: do not take up accessible spaces when you do not need them. It isn’t as simple as wanting to skip the lines. For many of us, these are the only ways that we can safely navigate through airports and board planes.

The Double Standards for People with Disabilities

The third issue I found is more personal but equally important: the double standards. In my online friend circle, some of my buds deal with harsh harassment from people who demand proof that they are truly disabled. Apparently, you can’t exist online if you are disabled. Apparently, we don’t have the capability to be on the Internet. Sarcasm aside, what bothers me is seeing my friends suffer from this kind of behavior. Meanwhile, there are people actively and admittedly abusing accessible services and systems without consequence. Plus, they receive a big gold star for doing so.

How Will This Affect Those Who are Truly Disabled

Feigning injury or a disability and taking up accessible spaces when you don’t need them is wrong. The services and accessibility at airports are there for a reason: to help those who are actually injured or disabled to safely get to their destination. Instances where airline services and accessibility that actually treat someone who is disabled decently are very hard to come by. The fact that someone is actively encouraging others on social media to go out and abuse these services is very wrong. I wonder how many people will be negatively affected due to this viral video and news coverage.

About Chrysanthemum Chan: Chrysanthemum is an award-winning cosplayer and Quantum brand ambassador. She enjoys fashion, cosplay and music and has a TikTok channel with over 380,000 followers. Click here to learn more about Chrysanthemum.

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