NO FREE PASS

Bishop’s Falls fam­ily up­set by lack of un­der­stand­ing from pro­moter

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

Fam­ily up­set with lack of em­pa­thy from Blake Shel­ton con­cert pro­moter

It can be dif­fi­cult in the best of times to at­tend a once-in-al­ife­time event. It is, by def­i­ni­tion, a rare op­por­tu­nity.

The task is even more daunt­ing if you have a phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity.

How­ever, Mick Roberts of Bishop’s Falls wasn’t about to let any­thing keep him from go­ing to see Blake Shel­ton per­form in Grand Falls-Wind­sor.

Roberts res­i­dent suf­fers from Duch­ene Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy — a ge­netic dis­or­der caus­ing pro­gres­sive mus­cle de­gen­er­a­tion and weak­ness. He’s been con­fined to a wheel­chair since the age of 13.

These days he spends most of his days con­fined to a hos­pi­tal bed at home with his par­ents, Mary and Dave, to care for him.

When the 27-year-old heard Blake Shel­ton was com­ing to Grand Falls-Wind­sor, his fam­ily be­gan mak­ing plans for him to at­tend.

How­ever, the con­cert pro­moter’s pol­icy on tick­ets al­most hi­jacked their plans.

The pol­icy, among other con­straints, does not al­low “free” passes for med­i­cal at­ten­dants.

The Roberts says they learned that even if tick­ets are paid for, a max­i­mum of one per­son is al­lowed en­try to the spe­cial seat­ing area

So if a med­i­cal at­ten­dant re­quires a bath­room break their pa­tient would, in the­ory, would have to re­main unat­tended.

The Roberts fam­ily con­tacted con­cert pro­moter David Carver.

“He (pro­moter David Carver) told me his pol­icy for the 30 years he’s been in busi­ness as a pro­moter is not to give away free tick­ets…,” Mick’s fa­ther Dave told The Ad­ver­tiser. “Then he started telling me ‘why should Mick get a ticket for the es­cort?’”

Roberts fa­ther says it was an easy ques­tion to an­swer. He said Mick re­quires his med­i­cal equip­ment and a med­i­cal at­ten­dant wher­ever he goes. His re­quire­ments are unique, said his fa­ther, which is the na­ture of his dis­abil­ity.

Much like a quad­ri­plegic re­quires a chair, Mick’s at­ten­dant is a tool. From past ex­pe­ri­ences, he says, Mick’s med­i­cal at­ten­dant is al­ways ad­mit­ted fee of charge to an event.

“We bought two tick­ets, one for Mary and one for Mick…,” said the elder Roberts. “But when they mes­saged us back, they said ‘no the es­cort wasn’t in­cluded.’”

Dave ex­plained Mick’s con­di­tion to event staff, and says he also ex­plained the at­ten­dant was a re­quire­ment for Mick.

When no res­o­lu­tion could be found by speak­ing with event staff, Roberts says he raised the is­sue to so­cial me­dia, post­ing on Face­book about their dilemna.

Fol­low­ing that Face­book post, Roberts re­ceived a call from the con­cert pro­moter David Carver. Roberts says while the con­di­tion re­gard­ing the num­ber of peo­ple in the spe­cial seat­ing area has been waived, the pro­moter was not willing to pro­vide a free ticket for Mick’s at­ten­dant.

AD­VER­TISER PHOTO

Bishop’s Falls res­i­dent Mick Roberts isn’t go­ing to let his dis­abil­ity, or any­thing else, keep him from at­tend­ing this year’s Blake Shel­ton con­cert in Grand Falls-Wind­sor on Aug. 26.

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