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Video: Violinist Itzhak Perlman speaks about his mistreatment at Toronto’s Pearson Airport

The disabled virtuoso was abandoned by a member of staff and forced to make his way through customs with his luggage and violin

Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Itzhak Perlman has spoken to CBC News about his treatment by a member of staff at Toronto airport on Monday. The virtuoso violinist, who moves about via a mobility scooter, was abandoned by a disability assistant at Pearson International  and forced to make his own way through customs with his luggage, crutches and violin. Despite Perlman’s protestations, the assistant left him at an elevator, saying, ‘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.’

‘He just left me there,’ Perlman told CBC News. ‘I looked around and waited for a few minutes, but nobody was there and I thought, “Well I am late for a rehearsal...” So I just loaded everything up. I was in what I call the Twilight Zone of the airport – before immigration – so it wasn’t like I could call somebody up to come and help me. I felt abandoned. I felt like I was kind of helpless.’

‘We find this very concerning as it is not at all representative of Air Canada's policies,' said Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the airline. 'We are looking into this regrettable situation and we will be in contact with the customer to discuss this matter and offer our apologies.’

Watch Perlman's complete interview here.

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