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GAINESVILLE (CBS11) – Tied up and ignored right in the middle of the busiest place in North Texas.
CBS 11 and American Airlines are investigating a 98-year-old woman’s claim that she was strapped to a wheelchair and forgotten after getting off a flight last week.
For 45 years in a row, Rosario Sanchez has traveled overseas from Madrid to her daughter’s home in Gainesville.
“She had a good trip,” says her daughter Rosa McElreath.
The 98-year-old still gets around remarkably well.
But her family made sure she had an an attendant to push her in a wheelchair once she arrived at DFW Airport on September 17.
“When I saw the people from Madrid coming through and I wait for her and I panicked I thought maybe she didn’t come,” says her daughter.
But her wheelchair attendant left her in the baggage claim area of the secured customs terminal thinking she was connecting on another flight.
“He kept telling her she can’t leave she had to stay there,” she says.
For more than 90 minutes, Sanchez says she was not only abandoned, but strapped to the wheelchair and unable to get to a bathroom when she had to go.
“She kept screaming to everybody help me please help me,” she says.
But those pleas for help were in Spanish while passengers and other attendants came and went.
Finally, another attendant discovered the elderly woman, pushed her out to her waiting family and had the nerve to ask for a tip.
“The guy kept telling me on my fault its not my fault and then he asked me for money,” she says.
A spokesman American Airlines says “We are immediately contacting the contractor we work with AirServ and are taking this matter very seriously”
“She’s mad she was mad,” says her daughter.
Sanchez was upset but thankfully okay.
“She said I’m a coming no more to the United States,” she says.
She still finds a way to laugh at what most would consider a frightening and humiliating experience.
“She wants an apology that’s for sure but she keeps saying I’m not coming here anymore she’s been coming for 45 years,” says her daughter.
The woman’s family says they called American Airlines to complain.
But it contracts that service to AirServ which we were unable to reach for comment.
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