Popular hotel chain Best Western is facing some heat after a hotel employee mocked a disabled war hero when he asked for assistance.
Staff Sgt. Chad Staples, 28, was staying at the Best Western Plus Monahans Inn & Suites in Monahans, Texas when he was humiliated after an employee laughed at him when he asked for help getting down the stairs. Staples, a former Army sniper is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair after he was shot in Baghdad in 2007.
The hotel elevator was out of service due to a local power outage so Staples called the front desk to ask if they could help him get down the stairs from his third-floor room.
"I was like 'can you send someone up to help me with my bags and help me get down the stairs?' She said, "are you serious". I said 'yes, I'm in a wheelchair.' and she goes, 'what do you want me to do about it?" Staples told News West 9. He said that the desk attendant also laughed at him.
Angered by her rude response, Staples threw his luggage and wheelchair down the stairs so he could slide down the three flights on his backside.
"I didn't need to be carried down the stairs, let's get that clear. I needed somebody to help me get my bags and wheelchair down the stairs," Staples said. "I've never had that bad of a day where I'm just randomly rude to someone - and the consequence is that (someone is) stuck at the top floor of a hotel."
When Staples tried to complain to customer care about the issue, they told him that asking for that kind of help could be a liability as he could have been injured while a staff member carried him. However, Staples said he wasn't asking to be carried.
"It's not like I was asking to be carried down. All I needed was someone to help navigate my wheelchair down so it wouldn't break. This shouldn't happen and it doesn't matter that I'm a vet. That's something that people get emotional about and I understand but any good person should not be treated like this," Staples told News West 9.
His father, Bob Staples was outraged when his son told him the story.
"Whether he's military or not, he has a disability. You don't treat anybody like that, but you certainly don't treat someone with a disability like that," Bob Staples said, as quoted by OA Online. "He gave up his ability to walk to save the life of another person. And he did, he saved the lives of other people."
Best Western released a statement on their website in which they apologized and gave Staples a full refund.
"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."
Best Western said that they plan to make some changes to prevent the event from happening again.
"We respect Mr. Staples's status as a disabled veteran and the sacrifices he has made for our country," the statement read. "We can only hope that Mr. Staples will stay at a Best Western hotel in the future, as our guest, and afford us an opportunity to express our gratitude."
However it is highly unlikely that Staples will choose Best Western next time. Staples refuses to accept the hotel's apology and he says no changes were made after the incident.
"Apologies mean nothing. Actual actions mean everything," Staples said, as quoted by OA Online. "Nothing has changed. They haven't fired that woman and they haven't changed their policies."
Staples said he doesn't want to take legal action against the hotel chain, but he does hope people choose to boycott the company.
"No legal action. That's disgusting. I despise frivolous lawsuits. It's garbage and I'm not going to be a part of that. I don't think the money should be taken out of their pocket directly by me. They'll have it taken out by the public right now until they decide to fix what's going on," Staples said, as quoted by News West 9.
After the story spread, several people took to Best Western's Facebook page to express their disgust. Many are saying that they plan to boycott the hotel chain, especially other military members.