This was what I wrote to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Sir or Madam,
Hello, I just want to share with you about what had happened at ChicagoO'Hare airport. As a frequent traveler and deaf myself, I don't usually experience anything like this.
I narrated what just happened to me at the airport while getting off the plane from United in my vlog about an encounter I had with the contractor at Chicago O'Hare airport on Feb. 11th who brought me a wheelchair. After telling him that I was just deaf and not in the need of having a wheelchair, he kept on insisting me to sit on it. After I declined politely, he offered to put my bag and coat on the wheelchair (you will see the picture in my vlog).
As I was going on my way to the gate, he continued to walk next to me till the end although I had told him several times that it wouldn't be necessary. He offered me to hold his arm several times and I again said no. He even told me about my appearance and how gorgeous I looked while I was in the elevator and that did not make me feel comfortable especially in an enclosed area. I felt I was harassed and being paternalized. Although he was trying to be friendly but he went overboard. The point was that he dismissed my request that I did not need service. It led me to conclude that airport employees who serve the disabled are not having significant understanding and obviously received a lack of training about disability.
In my vlog, you can see how many comments were made by deaf people who are able to find a common experience like my story. To my dismay, there are many deaf people who have been misunderstood in the airport especially at Chicago. If they are elderly people or people who are not completely able to walk, please do continue to provide them service. However for deaf people who are physically able to walk, I just want to put this to an end as it is not necessary to "dangle" the wheelchair in front of them.
Please let me know what can it be done to alleviate this problem.
Thank you for your attention,
Now a letter of reply from Gretchen Meyer:
Dear Ms. DiGiovanni:
Thank you for taking the time to share your recent experience with us. Wheelchair assistance is contracted out by each individual airline. In your case, United Airlines contracts out to a company called AirServ for wheelchair and other assistance to its passengers.
There have been a few recent issues with AirServ as well as some of the other contractors at O'Hare. We consider this a very serious issue and we are currently working with our airline tenants at O'Hare to ensure that their contractors are properly trained to work with passengers with disabilities.We have already met with some local agencies who will be assisting using this process. I assure you that we are working to correct this issue as quickly as possible.
On behalf of O'Hare International Airport, I truly apologize for the recent experience you encountered while using our facility. I will also be sure to forward this to United Airlines for review.Please accept my sincere apology and I hope your next visit to O'Hare is more enjoyable.
Gretchen Meyer email@example.com
So I am still waiting to hear from United and will keep you informed. Feel free to review the comments and my replies in my original post to see how many more unbelievable stories and input posted there. All I hope is that my story as well as some of yours who have shared in the comment section will prevent this from happening again for us deafies.