An elderly woman was forced to spend the night alone in her wheelchair at O'Hare International Airport after her flight home was canceled and the airport employee responsible for her wellbeing left for the night. Now her son is demanding answers as to how his disabled mother was forced to fend for herself overnight.
According to CBS Chicago, Olimpia Warsaw, a 67-year-old with Parkinson's Disease and diabetes, who has trouble walking and communicating, was scheduled to fly back to Detroit from Chicago following her ex-husband's funeral, but she never made it back home, even after a representative from American Airlines told her son that his mother would make it home without any issues.
"I walked with her all the way to her gate," Warsaw's son, Claude Coltea said. "I confirmed with the gate agent that the flight was on time. Everything was ok. She said, 'Yup, all's fine. We'll take good care of your mom.'"
But that wasn't the case.
Coltea explained that the airport assigned someone to watch over his mom following the cancelation of her flight back home. But the porter who was supposed to be watching over Warsaw walked away at the conclusion of his shift. He told the elderly woman that American Airlines could secure her a hotel room for the night but he didn't know how to go about transporting her there. So she sat there alone in the airport for hours before her family knew anything about this.
Warsaw's ability to speak has been severely damaged by the Parkinson's, so she had trouble asking airport personnel for help or to even explain her situation to them. One of the worst revelations to come out of all of this is the fact that Warsaw, who has trouble going to the restroom on her own, had to be assisted by an unknown passenger who just happened to be near her at the time.
"She actually had to find a random passenger to help her out just to go to the bathroom because the porters had already left for the night," Julian Coltea said.
Warsaw's family in Detroit didn't know that the flight had been canceled or that their relative was alone in Chicago, and so they grew worried when she never turned up. It wasn't until security located her hours later that anyone knew that she was still in the terminal.
"All we wanted was someone to pause and say 'you know what, can we just make sure this human being is safe and then we can all go home,'" Coltea said. "Not one person did that."
And it was quite an ordeal for Olimpia herself. "I was scared to death ... there was nobody," she later commented when finally safe and sound at home.
And now the family is demanding answers from American Airlines and O'Hare International Airport as to how this could happen.
"I really think they need to revisit their policies for dealing with the elderly, for dealing with the disabled," Julian Coltea said.
In a statement to Fox News, an American Airlines spokesperson said they have launched an investigation into the matter.
"We are very concerned about this, and have launched an investigation with our Chicago team and the vendor we utilize that provides wheelchair services at Chicago O'Hare. We have spoken with the family multiple times and met with them both in Chicago and Detroit yesterday. Our team has already refunded back the fare for this trip."
It should also be noted that this wasn't the only incident during Warsaw's trip. According to CBS Chicago, American Airlines lost Warsaw's luggage on her flight to Chicago, forcing her to miss the first part of her ex-husband's funeral as she was required to go out and buy a new outfit.
Warsaw was still wearing that same outfit when her family picked her up from O'Hare.
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