Air Canada is facing the wrath of hundreds of Twitter users after a Tweet-a-thon to help an eight-year-old dying boy went horribly wrong.
The kid, Tanner, is suffering from muscular dystrophy. As part of his dying wishes he wanted to race through Central Park in a tutu with a group of supporters. A Tweet-a-Thon called #TutusForTanner managed to raise $25,000 for the event within a 30 hour period, with the event to be held on Friday.
All was going well, with Tanner and his aunt, Catherine Connors, flying out yesterday to fulfil the kid’s dream. However, on arrival at La Guardia airport it was discovered that Tanner’s $15,000 wheelchair had been destroyed during the flight, meaning he would be unable to travel anywhere until a replacement was found.
Air Canada promised an immediate loan wheelchair, but after hours of waiting around Connors became impatient and called up the airline to see what the delay was on Wednesday night. To her dismay she was told that Air Canada could do nothing about the wheelchair until Monday.
Now instead of being in Central Park he is stuck in a hotel bed, unable to move, and may have to wait another four or five days before Air Canada finds him a replacement wheelchair.
The news has sparked outrage among Twitter users, particularly those who have been supporting the Tweet-a-thon, with the situation quickly turning into a PR disaster for Air Canada, which has dashed the hopes of a dying child and ruined what could have been a joyous moment in his last remaining days.
Some on Twitter are now trying to arrange a way to get Tanner a replacement wheelchair, which at the time of writing has still not been found. The #TutusForTanner campaign is still ongoing, growing, and welcoming more support.
Meanwhile Air Canada has apparently done nothing. What it might have paid to get this kid a wheelchair will be dwarfed by what it will need to pay to rebuild its tarnished image.
*Update: Air Canada has given in and replaced Tanner’s wheelchair, bringing it to him Thursday – the Twitter Mob strikes again.