Nationwide Backlash After Paralyzed Veteran Forced To Crawl Down 3 Flights of Stairs At Monahans Best Western 8/9/12
CBS 7 News Reporter
August 9, 2012
Monahans, TX - The backlash after claims of a Best Western in Monahans mistreating a paralyzed Iraq war veteran is going viral, flooding social media sites nationwide. Now people in Monahans are starting to protest.
“It kind of hurts me to think about that, because I've been on the patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan. I've been on the humps. I've been on all that stuff and so I've seen the pain in the families’ eyes…when they have a wounded vet in their family. To think that this dude is all alone crawling down the stairs, humiliated you know, angers me,” stated protesting war veteran Jonathen Valencia.
28 year-old paralyzed veteran Staff Sergeant Chad Staples stayed at the Monahans Best Western hotel on August 7th. While he was there, a power outage happened shutting down the elevator. He says he called the front desk, explained his situation and asked for help. But instead of helping him, he said he was laughed at by a female employee.
"I blew up slammed the phone, went down the stairs by myself; which included chucking my wheel chair down, my bags, everything that you don't want to chuck down the stairs and going down on my butt. Which wasn't that big of a deal, I was going to do that anyways, but I didn't want to chuck my stuff around, " said veteran Chad Staples.
The employee on the phone was Holly Oyerbides. In a statement she stated: “ I received a phone call from a guest in room 302. I answer the phone saying front desk can I help you. Chad in a mad voice states the elevator is not working. And then says I’m in a (explicative) wheel chair how am I suppose to get down. I then reply what can I do to help you. He then states are you (explicative) kidding me I'm in a wheel chair and hangs up. Then minutes later he comes down to the front desk…”
We tried asking the manager Andy Patel about what took place, but after hiding in the back room, he declined to make any further comments.
Veteran Staples said he never expected his complaint to go nationwide, but he wants something to be done.
"My ultimate goal, and I have to admit I do want her fired. No one should ever be in service, who acts like that. But beyond that they need to change their entire policy on handicap rooms and where the rooms are located and who they give them to" said veteran Chad Staples.
Several military groups are planning to boycott Best Western hotels nationwide.
Best Western International released a statement to CBS 7. They stated; “We are truly sorry for the incident that took place during his stay...we spoke directly to mister Staples and offered a full and sincere apology and reimbursed his expenses while at best western."