Violinist Itzhak Perlman abandoned by disability staff at Toronto airport

The disabled performer was forced to make his own way through customs with his luggage and violin

Tuesday, 01 April 2014

Itzhak Perlman was abandoned by a disability assistant at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Monday, and forced to make his own way through customs with his luggage and violin, it has been reported.

The leading violinist, who contracted polio at the age of four and moves around via mobility scooter, complained that the unidentified assistant ‘walked me to an elevator and said “that’s where I’m leaving you”’.

When Perlman gestured to his luggage and asked how he would carry it through customs, the assistant replied: ‘Look, I’m not your personal assistant, you’re not paying me for this, you’re the one who chose to carry an extra bag with you.’ The violinist was forced to load up his lap with his bags, crutches and violin.

‘I’ve been coming to Toronto for 40 years; this has never happened to me before like this, it’s just absolutely unbelievable,’ said Perlman. ‘I felt so unwelcome, and it was funny; every place I would go there were big letters saying ‘Welcome to Canada’”.

‘We had made it very clear to Air Canada when we booked the ticket that Mr Perlman required assistance to get all the way through customs,’ wrote David Lai, president of New York-based IMG Artists.

Perlman was in Toronto to perform at a charity concert in Roy Thomson Hall on Monday night.

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Joseph Frame

As disappointing this is to hear, I notice that Maestro Perlman did NOT just throw up his hands and quit. Like the amazingly strong person he is, he somehow managed. Besides his incomparable art, he is an exemplar to e everyone who might be struggling with a problem. Next time you feel like complaining about some irksome problem, think about how the world's greatest violinist would deal with it --- by confronting the issue head-on!

21:44 - Tuesday, 01 April 2014
Lou Korell

Mr. Perlman is too classy to cancel for personal reasons like this. His music is way more important than his inconvenience. That's just the kind of man he is. The employer of the assistant should be dealing with this asap.

01:11 - Wednesday, 02 April 2014

This was horrible for Mr. Perlman but it should not matter who the person is, respect for every one should be the order of the day for a service oriented organization.

15:39 - Thursday, 03 April 2014


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