Even if it is progressing in our societies, access to mobility services for blind people still has room for improvement in many sectors.
Timothée Adolphe, one of the spearheads of the French Paralympic team, in full preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympics, had the bitter experience of it this week.
The one nicknamed "The White Cheetah", world champion in the 400 meters and Paralympic vice-champion in the 100m (in 10'' 90 in 2020) was to go to Toulouse from Paris as part of an operation carried out with his sponsor, with his dog.
But the organization of the trip did not go as planned.
EasyJet does not comply with the law
The company RTE, its partner, was responsible for booking the ticket for the duo but the company EasyJet expressed its refusal to accept the dog while a legislative device obliges companies to travel for disabled people and people with reduced mobility. with a recognized assistance animal (to be differentiated from a so-called comfort animal).
The company replied that they no longer accept guide dogs.
We were very surprised.
My sponsor contacted their services for explanations and they were told that EasyJet was an English company and that as such it did not have to respect French laws
, ”explains the sprinter bitterly.
Timothée Adolphe on February 11 at the Paris meeting on 60 m.
The company (which we contacted but which has not yet responded to our request), also claimed that the dog, Japelou, did not come from an internationally recognized school.
It is totally false.
The School of Guide Dogs for the Blind in the West where he was trained is federated at the national and international level
”, protests Timothée Adolphe who personally tried to join the company.
Without much success.
Having to fight simply to enforce basic laws is abnormal.
I fell from the clouds.
When I finally got someone on the phone after twenty minutes of waiting for an explanation, I told them that I was going to record the conversation to use it eventually.
The person put down the handset and did not want to communicate
", continues the 33-year-old athlete, saying to himself "
disappointed and angry
We are in 2023, having to fight to simply apply basic laws, it is abnormal.
I fell from the clouds.
Air France solved the problem by accepting the dog
Since becoming a top athlete, Timothée Adolphe has fortunately never encountered this type of problem, which was finally resolved with Air France, which made arrangements to accept Japelou and his master, 13 times French champion since 2011. On the other hand, the Versaillese must fight much more often with taxis or VTC refusing to board him with his faithful companion.