A disabled 21-year-old man and his brother are suing the National Air and Space Museum for discriminating against and publicly embarrassing them.
Max Gold of Merrick, N.Y., was born with a rare vascular condition that required one of his legs to be amputated at a young age. He also must use a wheelchair. Gold and his 25-year-old brother, Jake, were visiting the renowned museum last summer when they tried to use one of the featured flight simulators.
“Jake prepped me for getting out of my chair … and began lifting me when a supervisor came running over,” Max Gold told The Washington Post. The brothers claim the supervisor directed all her comments to Jake, even though Max tried to speak for himself. The supervisor allegedly told Jake his brother couldn’t use the simulator because he couldn’t physically get out of his wheelchair.
Jake, who is studying nursing, has been lifting his younger brother out of his wheelchair for years. Max is studying aviation security and came to the museum straight from the train in Washington, D.C., because of his “absolute love for aviation.”
The brothers’ suit — targeting the Smithsonian Institution and Pulseworks, which run the museum and simulators, respectively — seeks a policy change that accommodates disabled individuals, staff training on accommodations and sensitivity and unspecified damages for emotional distress.
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