Whatever you think about Air Canada, airline staff went above and beyond the call of duty with this guy.
Departing Varadero, I noticed a man waiting in a wheelchair to be taken aboard our flight to Toronto.
Turns out he was seated on the plane next to friends of mine, one a geriatric nurse, who later told me his story.
Seems the man, a northern B.C. resident in his mid-80s and with memory problems, had been staying alone at an all-inclusive resort in Cuba for the entire winter. The cost was something in the $25k Canadian range.
Hotel staff made sure he got his meals, found his way back to his room and ensured he got to the airport on departure day.
A family member would be picking him up at this final destination. That meant three flights and two connections through busy airports, Toronto and Vancouver.
How, we all wondered, would this man find his way to his departure gates? Our overnight Toronto layover required us to claim our luggage, leave the secured area and check back in five hours later. Surely, we thought, he couldn’t handle this amount of airport navigation on his own, since it was a challenge to us. What would happen to him? Would he make or miss the Vancouver flight?
Well, Air Canada to the rescue. At several points, we noticed staff pushing him in his wheelchair and whisking him to where he needed to be through special-access doors. In the end, he made it to the departure gate before we did.
Nice one Air Canada.