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An airline removed 34-year-old Jon Hetherington from its flight because his wheelchair exceeded the size requirement, thwarting him from attending Beyoncé’s Sept. 14 show at the Lumen Field in Seattle as part of her Renaissance World Tour. He waited 25 years for the moment.

The BeyHive caught wind of his story and got him into Queen B’s Thursday night show (Sept. 21) in Dallas, where he met Mama Tina Knowles and Beyoncé herself.

A fan captured staff directing the disability advocate to an area where he could park his wheelchair and enjoy the show.

“There is much that I will say in the coming days about what tonight means to me,” Hetherington wrote under a picture of him with Ms. Tina. “There are some things I’ll keep for myself. Truly an honor to meet you, @mstinaknowles! Thank you for all that you’ve done and given the world. We’re so grateful.”

The 34-year-old continued, “To the Queen herself, @beyonce, I will treasure those words you said and the hugs you gave. I meant every word I said. No, for anyone and everyone reading this, I will not share with you what she said to me, don’t even try it. That moment is between the two of us.”

On the day of the Seattle show, a disappointed Hetherington sat outside and shared the disappointing news with his Instagram, TikTok and X followers.

“Welp, guess I’m not going to Seattle, and I’m not seeing Beyoncé,” he said. “Got to the airport to take my flight, and they tell me that my chair is apparently four inches too tall to be loaded onto the plane.”

After posting that video, Beyoncé fans began tagging the “Energy” singer and Parkwood Entertainment, an entertainment company and record label Beyoncé founded. 

Hetherington thanked viewers for their efforts in a subsequent video. He added that the airline employees tried to help him by exploring all options, including finding another flight.

He also refused to call the airline out by name because he stated all airlines contributed to the issue — ableism.

“I know you want me to share the name of the airline, but here’s why I’m struggling with that,” he said. “First of all, it’s not just one airline. It’s all airlines. It’s every facet of our society that we have built to exclude disabled people. That’s the real problem that we need to address here.”

Hetherington has spoken against ableism numerous times, using his experience to spotlight the difficulties disabled people have to endure on top of their impairment.

One horrific example is when Hetherington flew from Oregon to Seattle to witness Janelle Monáe’s The Age of Pleasure tour, only to wait over 7 hours for an accessible taxi after the show — from a little after 1 a.m. to well after 8 a.m.

“All of this is happening because I have the audacity to be a disabled person who loves music and dared to see [Monáe],” Hetherington posted on Instagram. He even questioned if attending Beyoncé’s would be worth the trouble despite waiting 25 years to see her live.

“Twenty-five years is a long time to wait to see someone, and yet, the 48 hours I’ve had is a pretty strong argument not to put myself through this. Fuck ableism, always!”

A couple of his friends came through in the end.


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