‘I’ve never let Addie see me cry’; Moorhead mom says her experience with Delta Airlines changed that

17-year-old Addie Loerzel's powerchair was damaged during Delta Airlines flight
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 6:58 PM CDT
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MOORHEAD, MINN. (Valley News Live) -

Marisa Loerzel and her daughter, Addie, are well-known in the FM area for their “Addie’s Royal Cupcakes” business. They also participate in pageants to promote their message of inclusivity for those with disabilities. Last week, Addie and her mom took a Delta flight from Fargo to Maine for a pageant and what was supposed to be an exciting mother-daughter trip, quickly became a disaster.

When Loerzel and her daughter got off their flight in Maine, they were escorted from baggage claim to a private office. That’s where Loerzel says they got the chair back, but it was damaged and wouldn’t turn on. She says that was the first time her daughter saw her cry.

”I’ve never let Addie see me cry, because I never want Addie to think that she’s a burden to me or that her disability causes me any sadness or troubles,” Loerzel explains tearfully. “It’s more than just damage to a wheelchair, it was damage to our spirits and damage to our joy.”

Not knowing what to do, Loerzel took to Facebook looking for help. Now, their family and friends have made reports to Delta about the incident in addition to the report Loerzel made.

“We did have some anxiety knowing that we were taking a risk traveling with her powerchair, airlines don’t have a good reputation of taking care of people’s mobility devices,” says Loerzel. She says she even put bubble wrap on certain parts of the wheel-chair as a precaution.

A quick check of delta.com’s website says some wheelchairs may not fit into the cargo compartment and if that’s the case, they will work to find the best solution to safely transport your personal wheelchair.

Loerzel says, “We would have had no choice but to put her in a manual chair and take away her independence and her dignity and everything else that she loves about this chair.” But, their trip was saved, thanks to a good samaritan at the Maine airport who stayed with them for over an hour until he was able to get the powerchair back in working order.

Addie says to the man who helped them, “I owe him everything, I owe you everything...hopefully you’re doing good!”