Itzhak Perlman Airport Incident Prompts Apology, Donation

Friday, April 04, 2014 - 02:00 PM

Days after an airline worker abandoned Itzhak Perlman with his violin, crutches and luggage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Air Canada has offered an apology and a donation to the disabled violinist’s charity.

The saga began when Perlman was arriving in Toronto on Monday to play for a charity concert that night. According to the violinist, he was traveling with an Air Canada employee between his arrival gate and passport control when the staff member became argumentative and refused to assist in carrying his carry-on luggage. He then left Perlman in a corridor by a bank of elevators.

With three bags to carry, as well as his multi-million-dollar violin, the 68-year-old Perlman loaded up his mobility scooter and wheeled his way to customs authorities. Perlman suffered polio as a child and uses crutches and a scooter to get around. The incident drew dozens of messages of sympathy on Perlman's Facebook page.

Air Canada said in a statement that it has donated 500,000 Aeroplan miles to Chai Lifeline Canada, the charity Perlman was in Toronto to support. Company spokesman Marc-Andre Hotte also wrote to Perlman's assistant to say, "I would like to extend my personal apologies for the inconvenience we caused Mr. Perlman in Toronto but especially for the unacceptable service we extend him with."

Chai Lifeline, which offers support services to families of children stricken with serious illness, said in a statement, “the miles donated to the organization will no doubt do a great deal of good for ill children and their families in Toronto and the GTA."

The violinist returned to New York early Tuesday morning, with no reported travel difficulties.


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Comments [2]

john dunbar from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

The kind of insolence and insensitivity shown Ithak Perlman is not unusual in Canada. Being a Canadian myself and having lived here all my life I can tell you that reports of this kind of thing regularly appear in the media and in my personal life. Despite the high opinion that Canadians have of themselves, we are essentially a nation of self-centred, ignorant and in many cases unprofessional people in dealing with others. Worst of all , we typically don't do anything about ourselves even when caught red-handed. Air Canada could do no less than make up for being caught by the media. But in some cases, people can literally get away with murder - especially if one is a member of that much admired but undeservedly so Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A few years ago, 4 of them murdered an innocent visitor to Canada from Poland. Fortunately it was in public view and they were caught on tape but it didn't make any difference as none of them were even mildly disciplined. The whole thing was just left to blow over. Welcome to Canada !

Apr. 10 2014 07:54 AM
Catherine arcure


Apr. 07 2014 10:15 PM

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