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Paraplegic man upset his Cards tickets wasted because disabled seats were not available

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Update - The family informs FOX 2 that they called three hours before game time.

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The family of a disabled Dupo man is upset by the way they say he was treated by the St. Louis Cardinals.

The man is a paraplegic. He told FOX2 his step-father called three hours before a weekend game time to switch his tickets to disabled seating. The game was sold out and there were none available. When another family member called back they believe that person was treated rudely by a ticket seller on the phone. The two $70 tickets went unused.

Cardinal Ticket Director Joe Strohm said people with disabilities should call as soon as possible to let them know about the ticket switch. It's best to call at least the day before or even sooner and if not, the person needs to appear at the ballpark ticket office on the day of the game.

The Cardinals said they want to make things right and are offering the man two free tickets. The young man's step-father told FOX 2 that is not good enough and he is considering legal action. He said they've run into these problems before at other venues.

The team points out that during the construction of Busch Stadium, a representative from the disabled community consulted on the design of special seating. The Cardinals say there are more disabled seats than required by law.

The Cardinals also said last year they received an award from the disabled community in St. Louis.

46 comments

  • malibujd44

    The dude calls ONE HOUR before a sold out game when he had the tickets for who knows how long and probably could have made that call a week or two earlier. Because of his procrastination he now expects royal treatment and for everyone to jump when he says here I am…Man that takes a lot of gall….then for the father not to except the apology…what an idiot. SHAME ON HIM!!!!! You know the guy has special needs, what were you waiting for?! The dad probably also uses the sons handicapped sign when he parks at walmart .

    • IdiotsMakeMeCrazy

      “they’ve run into these problems before at other venues.” Sounds to me like they do this quite frequently. How old is this “MAN” and why is Daddy running interference for him?

    • ByeBye

      Tickets were purchased by someone else. Couldnt use them, so they ask an hour before knowing there are no more ticket, cant get a refund, and use the disability to get new tickets

  • Andy

    This is not right. The Cardinals ticket sellers did nothing wrong. I am fed up with people thinking because they didn’t plan enough ahead that they are entitled to something. Just because this man is disabled doesn’t make this news story any less stupid. It was a sold out game, and there weren’t any seats available, the end. He shouldn’t be given 2 more seat for free, and the family member shouldn’t have called back to begin with. They thought because they had a disabled family member they could muscle their way into some seats that weren’t available. Next time plan ahead.

  • Tim Wilson

    If this idiot does follow through with legal action, AFTER HE LOSES he should pay for the attorney the Cardinals use to represent their interests.
    The money will be donated to a fine charity I am sure.

  • David A. Gantt

    Whaa!! Another crying to the media over hurt feelings that were caused by the person themselves. Because you are disabled doesn’t mean the world stops for you. What did he expect from the Cardinals ; a brass band and front row seats because he waited to the last hour to exchange his tickets?

  • Will

    The Cardinals did nothing wrong here, these idiots need to learn to plan ahead if they need special assistance going to events.

  • rose

    Nice people would have given the tickets away to use, instead of letting them go to waste. Sounds like they are more used to taking than giving.

  • Michael vR

    Hey David… Its not a Whaa! I would love to put you in this guys shoes and see how you feel. I also have been treated like dirt by the Cardinals front office. I am a quad and received tickets to games and can get no excanges as all disabled seats are “sold out”. I am told only the Cards Box Office can sell disabled seating. But when i chat with those around me, everyone bought their tickets off the street. There are only limited number of seats that are availiable for a game. Those in wheelchairs like myself cannot use a standard seat thus we cannot use the 44,000 plus seats. Of the remaining wc friendly seats, 100 plus, are those who have valid disabilities I must also compete against them. This just snt fair. I know people who grab wc seats just because they can. I had to have my son sit in front of me as i could barely see the field. I have won tickets to the World Series and did noot attend as i was told I had to go to standing room only to try and see the game. The view in standing room areas is blocked for usto lazy to stand. I still gave them 3 weeks and had no help. The ushers were even more unwilling to help. I was told to just watch the TV screens. Really? Take your brass band and shove it, buddy. You most likely will enjoy it. The Cardinal box office has no clue on life, It seems you must work for them

    • Beth Herbst Keller

      it is a whaa!!! My dad is also a paraplegic and has went to many many sporting events and concerts. You don’t wait until an hour before game time to ask for handicap seating! Totally his fault!

  • Kevin Stevenson

    I’m in a wheelchair and have had tickets which for disabled seating at all the major league sports teams in st.louis all of the staff have been very helpful but i call as soon as i get my tickets and there’s never a problem. Always plan ahead is what i do!

  • ken

    Ridiculous. Stop procrastinating. 1 hour before the game? Seriously? I couldn’t even get to a game on time in one hour from ofallon without being handicapped. Hope the Cards stand their ground. What a whiny wuss!

  • steve

    Not good enough? They could have told him too bad. I doubt he became paraplegic an hour before game time so they obviously didn’t plan very well for this game. Sounds to me like someone is trying to use a disabled person to acquire financial gain and thats just plain sad

  • Debbie

    The Cardinals probably do have more disabled seating that is required by law but the problem is they don’t reserve that seating for their disabled guests. We were at the game last night and in a row of 20+ accessible seats only two wheelchairs, the rest were able bodied patrons that could have sat in regular seats. Especially the two drunk guys beside us who knew all the ushers and staff, I would guess those always buy those seats!

    • jon baker

      My husband has to sit in accessible seating although he is not in a wheelchair. His disability is not obvious and in most cased people cant even tell he has a disability. If he wants to see a game and sit with his family then all the guest sit in accessible seating. We have never had a problem ordering tickets and the ushers have always been more than helpful.

  • Steven Sweeney

    This man waits til the last minute then expects the Cardinals to jump through hoops.Differently abled people always claim to want to be treated like everyone else.But when that happens, it’s time to sue.Next time, plan ahead.If the game was so important to you, you wouldn’t have waited that close to game time.

  • Aaron Brown

    I find this difficult to believe, since there are large disabled sections all around the Stadium, which are supposed to be reserved for disabled people only, I’ve never seen them filled during a game, not even close.

    Is the stadium selling these disabled sections, which are basically open slabs of concrete, to able-bodied people?

    • Jo

      Guessing here but perhaps they are part of the standing room only tickets that are offered the day of the game starting at 9:00 in the morning. The clarified on the news tonight that they were given the tickets an hour before the game.

      If you are offered tickets an hour before a game sounds like you were the last minute choice to get rid of the tickets. Be mad at your friend who didn’t know the system, not the stadium who’s hands were tied. I mean the story goes like they went to waste because of the stadium’s actions when really they were the last on the chain to be offered so they were going to waste anyway.

      • Jo

        You just illustrated why I don’t link my posts to anything. Last time I did someone like you had a go at my blog which is set up to discuss autism spectrum which my son has. No thanks!

    • Jo

      Excuse me? You think because you use what you claim is your last name you somehow have more authority than I do? Brown? Yeah that narrows you down a lot, maybe go with Smith next time! I said I was guessing that is how they sell the tickets, I am not such an arrogant fool as you seem to want to put yourself out there as, attacking people because they don’t want to put their last name in the internet where nut cases like you could look them up.

  • MK

    I’m just wondering why they bought those tickets to begin with knowing they weren’t for a disabled person. Wouldn’t you just buy the disabled seats initially???

    • Anonymous

      I am a family member of this man. The stadium did NOT offer new tickets to him on Sunday (they only presented alternative tickets as an option after being contacted by a reporter today). He was also told not to come down there or he wouldn’t be able to get into the stadium with his tickets. That is what this story should be about- the poor customer service he received and the lack of seating available at a venue that claims to have more than enough.

      As far as taking legal action, the reporter obviously misunderstood or is misquoting him because he is not seeking litigation from this. He is only trying to provide a voice for others who may have experienced this at St. Louis venues. Channel 4 contacted my family first, by the way, and they already had an interview arranged for tomorrow. This fox 2 reporter was rude and insisted on coming to do the interview today. My family did not want to speak with him and perhaps that is where the discussion of legal action came from.

      • CBC

        why would the Cards offer new tickets when they purchased tickets for standard seating in the first place. Bad custome service is everywhere, big deal everybody has a bad day. But why is the blame on them? Purchase the proper seats, plan ahead and have a good time. OR purchase any seats, try to exchange and told no, then fuss the the media about unfair treatment for their own lack of planning.. Being handicap is a serious matter and everything should be taken serious about it, but when a complaint is based off of a personal mistake then thats not a serious matter.

  • Karen Gilbert- Ladd

    As a handicapped patron I can shed some light on this. One hour before IS a problem, but I have been to Busch stadium and sat in handicapped seating with my wheelchair and a guest in a folding chair….several times the people next to me are NOT handicapped and totally able to get to a regular seat. (the last game I went to the guys next to me said they got the seats at the box office a couple of hours before game time.) Handicapped seating should be reserved for only those people that need it.
    ALSO, when I get tickets given to me for a Blues game, I can call ahead, give them the seat section and #s I have and they hold handicapped seating for me at will call. The Cardinals make you come downtown to exchange the tickets, so you have to make an extra trip all the way down there just to exchange the tickets. This is a hassle for many handicapped people that do not drive, don’t live close to the city or aren’t comfortable driving down alone. I stopped by the stadium yesterday on our way home from Chicago to exchange tickets for Wednesday’s game. They should do it the way the Blues do and keep them in will call. Hats off to the Blues who make it easier for those with physical challenges.

    • Aaron Brown

      Thanks, as a disabled person myself, I had no idea how this works.

      Pretty sad to see all these anonymous St. Louisans piling on a disabled person, putting their ignorance on display, but i’m not surprised, I get treated pretty shabbily in various restaurants and venues around the city.

      It seems that many of these able-bodied people think that being disabled is some kind of free ride in our society, of course every disabled person knows nothing could be further from the truth. I sincerely hope none of these folks ever have to find out what it’s really like, being treated as an untouchable, either ignored or reviled, treated with open contempt and disdain or made fun of.

      Compared to much of the rest of America St. Louis is very backward in this regard, states like California, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, Florida even Georgia are far ahead of Missouri when it comes to consideration for disabled people. Even rural Missourians are far more considerate and accommodating then some of the heartless thoughtless folks in the city.

  • Mrs C

    I am a left below the knee amputee and I was given 2 tickets from my husband’s employer the day of a game. It was to late to switch tickets as the handicapped section was sold out. They were not inexpensive seats. However, the staff was very kind to make every attempt to make room for my daughter and myself in the handicapped section after explaining the situation to the greeter working that section. They were very kind. I don’t think threatening to sue the Cardinals aids the cause at all. If this was not the case, then they should have planned ahead. It pays to be polite.

  • Karen Gilbert- Ladd

    I see folks calling this guy a cry baby, whiner, etc…I understand that an hour before game time is very short notice, but if the Cardinals would actually save those seats for handicapped people and not just anyone, it would not have been an issue. And if they would allow patrons to make the exchange on the phone and use will call, probably a non-issue. Until you roll a mile in another person’s wheelchair, don’t be so quick to criticize. There are so many issues that people don’t have a clue about. . But to me, suing is ridiculous. When you are handicapped, there are often issues. Deal with it and work to make it better. Don’t sue!

    • Jo

      So if you have a bake sale and have a limited number of gluten free pastries. You are going to stop selling the pastries in 30 minutes. You should hold on to them just in case someone with Celiac comes by? or would you sell them for half price so you sell out? This is a business, they should not be required to hold seats they can otherwise sell just in case. Everyone else knows an hour before a game you may not get seats, why should this be any different. The stadium was sold out.

      You said earlier you went to a game where you saw people who could have sat somewhere else but standing room seats are 12 dollars a seat. First come first serve the day of the game. For some people that may be their only way to watch the game in person. Why shouldn’t they?

      I agree with you that the system the Blues use is better than what is presented here but making them lose revenue just in case, turn people away who would love the experience, that I can’t get behind.

      • Karen Gilbert- Ladd

        Again, the day of the game is always going to be difficult but…When my husband goes down to exchange the seats, they never EVER ask him if the person he is with is handicapped. I can’t tell you the number of times non-handicapped people sit in the handicapped section. I know they aren’t handicapped because I usually politely ask… if they are sitting close to me. Anyone can buy handicapped seating so they don’t even try to assure that these seats are saved for those that need it. THAT is where the problem lies. They do usually limited each person to one companion, so if my kids want to go with us, we have to purchase in separate transactions. If they are seats that are given to us that we want to exchange, they will only exchange 2, so we can’t ever all sit together unless we get someone to trade. I understand they want to sell out, but the number of actual handicapped seating is so small, and if a game is sold out in regular seating, I GUARANTEE the handicapped seating has a bunch of people in those seats that purchased as soon as they couldn’t get the seats they wanted. They can still sell out those seats to handicapped people if they just reserved them for that. BTW, a bake sale is a little different than a stadium to one of the best franchises in baseball.

  • Evan Waldo

    Hello, my name is Evan Waldo and I am the person discussed in this story. I wanted to clear up a couple of things. I called the Cardinals ticket offices at 3:58 yesterday, which was approximately 3 hours before the game was scheduled to begin, not an hour as was reported. It’s possible I might have misspoken with the reporter by whom I was contacted, Mr. Madden. I had planned to head to the game at around 5:00 in order to give myself and the person with whom I was to have attended, my biological father, more time to park, find our seats etc. The time at which I called ahead would’ve been about an hour earlier, then, so this could be where the confusion lay. Thanks. I welcome your angry letters.

    • Andy S.

      How is it the Cardinals fault that you didn’t call soon enough in advance and the game was sold out?
      Why didn’t you obtain disabled tickets to begin with if you knew you couldn’t use regular/standard seating?

      • Karen Gilbert- Ladd

        the tickets were given to him and he wanted to exchange them. If you read my comments above, you will see how the Blues do it, which I believe is a more accommodating system…a phone call would hold them for him.

      • Jo

        Karen, you said earlier that the Blues takes your ticket number. Shouldn’t they then be able to release those ticket numbers to someone for general sales? Seems especially in a sold out game this would maximize profits for any team. What I mean is there is that bar code, you read that off, they verify that code is attributed to sec X row Z seat 1. They then go in their computers and reassign that bar code to the handicapped section. They can do that with all tickets in their group. Then they assign a new bar code to the physical seats and sell them. Heck they could even have a policy that they have the right to reassign those handicapped tickets if you are able bodied. If I am correct and they are sold via the standing room only there is not a ticket in that stadium that doesn’t cost more than 12 bucks.

        This would allow the stadium to sell all seats and still be able to accommodate all handicapped people up until those sections are filled with handicapped only. Everyone wins? This wouldn’t have happened unless every one of those seat was filled with handicapped people and their one companion, right?

      • Andy S.

        So they want to sue because they couldn’t use FREE tickets that were given to them?
        The organization was nice enough to offer them tickets to another game and the family didn’t even purchase tickets to begin with….

  • Anonymous

    I am a family member of this man. The stadium did NOT offer new tickets to him on Sunday (they only presented alternative tickets as an option after being contacted by a reporter today). He was also told not to come down there or he wouldn’t be able to get into the stadium with his tickets. That is what this story should be about- the poor customer service he received and the lack of seating available at a venue that claims to have more than enough.

    As far as taking legal action, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. the reporter obviously misunderstood or is misquoting him because he is not seeking litigation from this. He is only trying to provide a voice for others who may have experienced this at St. Louis venues. Channel 4 contacted my family first, by the way, and they already had an interview arranged for tomorrow. This fox 2 reporter was rude and insisted on coming to do the interview today. My family did not want to speak with him and perhaps that is where the discussion of “legal action” came from.

  • Anonymous

    I also might add that we do NOT believe the way the box office staff treated my relative is representative of the St. Louis cardinals, and that is why we contacted the local media. The Cards and the city of St Louis are better than this.

  • joanne bourbon

    To all you who commented aboutnon handicapped people sitting in handicapped seating. My husband has a broken foot so needs to be in handicap seating. Do you tell me I can’t sit w him because I’m not handicapped? What if his kids want to come to the game w their dad? Where would you like them to sit?

  • E. Waldo

    On Friday, June 18, I received 2 baseball tickets from an acquaintances, a member of the YMCA where I volunteer every Friday and Saturday. I was recently named Volunteer of the Month and I believe the gesture was in congratulations for that. On Sunday, I checked the team’s website to find out more about their policy with regards to ADA seating (I am paralyzed from the waist down due to Spina Bifida and use a wheelchair to get around). According to the website, fans wishing to exchange tickets which are not wheelchair-accessible for ADA seating are, if it is the day of the game, supposed to go to the ballpark before the game and do so in person. Having impaired mobility it is significantly difficult for me to travel and this would have been going largely out of my way. I called the ticket office at Busch Stadium and asked what I needed to do but was told that because the game was sold out, I would be unable to be granted admission. I told my stepfather, whom I live with, and he called back on my behalf, asking to speak with a supervisor. He was told no supervisor was available and was not given any contact information. We were not offered replacement tickets. This was the end of our dealings with Busch Stadium personnel.

    This incident is not an isolated one either.. I purchased tickets several years ago for an event which took place at the Scottrade Center. These were purchased thru the third-party online seller Stub Hub, but I don’t know whether this effects any case I may or may not have (Alas I am unsure as to where or how the tickets for today’s game were obtained as they were a gift from a friend). I received my tickets and payment was made to my debit card. On the date of the event, upon arrival at the venue and after finding the seats, my sister and I discovered those seats were not accessible, and were in fact only able to be reached via a flight of steps. The usher was unable, or unwilling, to otherwise accommodate us in any way. When we visited the Scottrade Center ticket office the alternative solution presented was to pay one hundred and seventy nine dollars each for a new pair of tickets, which was three times as much as the value of the ones I already had bought. We declined this option.

    On Monday, June 22, I was contacted by Fox 2 news, whom my sister had also gotten in touch with, and they asked to do an interview the same day. They were told this would be unfeasible for us due to the short notice and also because we had already contacted Chris Nagus at KMOV about the event and the request for an interview was declined. Later that evening Channel 2 aired a report about my story which I feel was mostly biased and motivated by our declining of an interview. The piece was also inaccurate with the facts. They reported I had called Busch Stadium an hour before the game was scheduled to begin when in fact it was three hours beforehand and they also referred to the person who had called the box office on my behalf as being my father when it was in fact my stepfather. Channel 4 had gotten in touch with us yesterday morning and were scheduled to come to our house at 11 this morning for an interview but once the Fox broadcast was aired they called back and told us they had decided not to go forth with it. We were notified an hour before the interview was scheduled to have taken place. I am surprised either station was interested at all as studies have shown that ratings plummet when news stories depicting the disabled are aired on the news. I feel this is because people turn away from anything which could remind them of their own human fragility and mortality. After Channel 2 decided to go forward with the story, the Cardinal Organization offered us replacement tickets but they would have been for an indeterminate date in the future and not one chosen at our convenience. If they did nothing wrong, why were they trying to bribe and buy me off? If, as the representative from the team said in the Fox 2 story, the stadium is compliant with ADA standards for adequate seating, why were all wheelchair-accessible tickets sold out? Were able bodied persons allowed to buy up these tickets in order for the stadium to make a further profit? This approach is indicative of broader attitudes. People think just because they don’t see someone like me every day that person doesn’t exist.

    Let me state I and my family are NOT pursuing any legal actions. Upon consideration we have concluded there would be no reason for it. Busch Stadium personnel’s failing was one of customer service, but more so it was a problem of disrespect and disregard for one of the fans. What is to be done? My simple proposal is that fans with valid tickets which are not for wheelchair-accessible seats be allowed exchange them the day of the game either by phone or online and without having to appear in advance at the stadium. Either way this isn’t about tickets to a ballgame. I could care less about attending one baseball game during the middle of the season in the dog days of summer. My purpose in speaking out is to shed light on the difficulties and obstacles, many of which are unnecessarily put in the way, which those with disabilities face in our everyday lives. Because of a lack of representation in the media and in politics and popular culture the disabled are discouraged from participating actively in society. In 2013 the unemployment rate for Disabled Americans was at 17 percent, which was more than twice as high as the overall unemployment rate. The barriers placed in front of us are both physical and invisible, institutional and attitudinal. The physical side is obvious. Politically some progress has been made but is it enough? If the ADA goes far enough in, for example, providing handicap-accessible parking spaces or accessible stalls in public restrooms why is it I am never able to find either? Still, some would say the law goes too far. I think it is a sad day when someone like Ron Paul can gain a sizable following despite having stated publicly he believes the ADA should have never been passed. It’s even more disheartening to know so many people agree with him. Many people still carry outdated views of people like me. They think of us as being shut-ins, helpless or even “better off dead.” I often encounter people who are shocked to see me out in public at places like concerts or ball games. Why? I easily could choose to shy away from the outside world to avoid the stares and dirty looks, the expressions of resentment and scorn and fear I receive every single day of my life and always have. It’s as if people think they’re going to “catch” something from me, as if Spina Bifida is contagious. I don’t blame people for feeling that way. People fear what they don’t understand. Despite these misguided attitudes, I am not going to separate myself from the rest of the world just because my lifelong debilitating could briefly cause some other thoughtless person some brief and minor inconvenience. In many ways I feel Disabled Americans are much less well-represented than other minority groups.

    About fifteen years ago when I was in 7th grade I went on a school trip to Washington D.C. When touring the Capitol Building, my family and I had to ride in the freight elevator because the Capitol Building of the United States of America was not wheelchair-accessible. To me this speaks volumes symbolically about the way people like me have been shut out of the system.

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