Today I booked a get-away weekend for my family to Nashville, Tennessee. While booking the hotel room, we discovered that the CMA Music Fest was in town for the same weekend that we had decided to travel there. We were super excited to find out that Reba McEntire was playing at the LP (home of the Tennessee Titans football team) on the first night that we would be in town. My oldest daughter is a huge Reba fan so I went to the ticket site and tried to purchase seats for the concert.
That is where my trouble started. My daughter, Lauren, the one who loves Reba McEntire, is 16 years old and paralyzed from the chest down. She uses an electric wheelchair to move around this world so I selected the icon which was provided for purchasing accessible seating. I received an email within minutes from TicketMaster stating that I would have to book the seats directly through the CMA Music Fest site so I looked up the number and called them.
I spoke to a nice young man who informed me that there were no seats left in the wheelchair seating section but that there were plenty of seats available elsewhere. I asked him if I could purchase regular seats and just transfer my daughter from her wheelchair to a regular seat once we were inside the stadium.
That was when I was informed that if a patron came into the stadium in a wheelchair that they had to remain in their wheelchair. He suggested that I speak to a supervisor to see if there was something else that could be done. I accepted his offer and went on to explain what had occurred to the young lady that came onto the line after I was transferred. She confirmed what the young man had told me, but had some helpful advice.
If you want to carry her from the parking lot to her seat that would be fine.
I know she was trying to be helpful so I tried to explain that my daughter weighed around 125 pounds and that carrying her would be quite a feat from the parking lot to a seat through the crowds.
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that my daughter’s wheelchair was going to keep her from going to a concert in a stadium that can seat nearly 70,000 people for a football game but couldn’t find a way to let her have a seat unless she could get to it without her wheelchair.
It weighed on my heart all afternoon. She didn’t know that she was going to miss out on an opportunity because of her handicap but I did. For better or worse, I made a decision by the end of the afternoon and called the CMA Fest ticket line.
If you happen to be at the LP field on Thursday, June 11, you may see a father carrying his 16 year old daughter through the ticket line, through the hallways, and finally to her seat. I don’t know how much longer I will be able to do these types of things for her, but I wasn’t going to let a little bit of Southern Hospitality stop her from having the opportunity this trip.