OKLAHOMA CITY — A metro family is speaking out after being split up and moved to different sections of the Chesapeake Energy Arena because of some miscommunication with their handicap accessible tickets at a recent Carrie Underwood concert.
“I’ve seen people like Luke Bryan in concert and Thomas Rhett,” Taylor Shirley told News 4.
However, his latest concert experience was a bit different for the 18-year-old country music fan, who’s bound to a wheelchair.
“I hadn’t seen Carrie before in concert,” Shirley said.
That is until Carrie Underwood’s ‘Cry Pretty Tour 360’ made a stop at the Chesapeake Energy Arena last Wednesday.
“We went to go find our seats and come to find out that there was a camera that was set up right where our seats were supposed to be,” Shirley said.
So for the first hour of the concert, Shirley and his family had to play a bit of a game of musical chairs.
“We were just standing outside in the little concourse area waiting on the supervisor to come help us and he told us our seats were in a totally different section. He was kind of all over the place telling us your seats are in this row, no your seats are in this row,” Lindsay Owens, Shirley’s sister, told News 4.
The group had one handicap accessible ticket and several companion tickets, which, turns out, were in the row below the handicap platform.
“He wants to sit with his family. It just shouldn’t be that difficult,” Ryan Hukill, Shirley’s dad, said.
Hukill said he soon learned that two other families took to Facebook with similar stories.
“It’s not fair not just to me, because I know I’m not the only person that has a disability or has a wheelchair, it’s also not fair to my family who was just there to spend some quality time with me,” Shirley said.
In a statement sent to News 4, officials with the Chesapeake Energy Arena said:
“A family attended the Carrie Underwood show on September 25 with a member who needed accessible seating. Some of the seats they had purchased were on the wheelchair-accessible ramp, and the others were purchased through separate transactions in a row nearby. The setup for this show was a little different beings it was a 360-degree stage, but we did not oversell the platforms or violate any of the ADA rules that we follow. We did our best to accompany the large family to sit as close together as possible, keeping in mind that the other seats on the ramp were purchased by other patrons who needed them as well. Our staff focuses on providing a positive experience for our guests and accommodating relocation requests as best as we can.”
Some of the video and pictures in this story were taken from the carrieunderwood.fm press kit