Woman in wheelchair left stranded overnight at O'Hare Airport

Credit: Scott Olson

Credit: Scott Olson

A 67-year-old disabled woman was stranded overnight in her wheelchair, still dressed in the clothes she had worn for her ex-husband's funeral at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago after her flight to Detroit was canceled, WBBM reported.

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American Airlines officials apologized for the incident, the television station reported.

It was a tough weekend for Olimpia Warsaw. She flew into Chicago for the funeral, but her luggage was lost.

“She had to miss the first part of his funeral because she had to get clothes,” Julian Coltea, a family member, told WBBM.

Claude Coltea said after his father’s funeral, he took his mother to O’Hare to be sure that the woman, who suffered from Parkinson’s and diabetes, would make her flight.

"I walked with her all the way to her gate," Claude Coltea told WBBM. "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.'"

When the flight was canceled, American Airlines assigned a porter to take Warsaw back to the main concourse and offered her a hotel room, the television station reported. However, Warsaw was left to find her own transportation, and because she had trouble communicating, she was unable to do so, Claude Coltea said. At that point, the porter assigned to Warsaw told her his shift was over and left, even though the woman was crying and scared, according to WBBM.

“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 told the television station.

When Warsaw did not arrive in Detroit, her family became concerned. O'Hare security officials eventually found her.
"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?" Claude Coltea told WBBM. "Not one person did that."
In addition to the apology, American Airlines officials said the airline has opened an investigation into the porter involved, who was not an employee of the airline, the television station reported.

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