“Welp, guess I’m not going to Seattle and I’m not seeing Beyoncé.”
So began a TikTok where Beyoncé fan Jon Hetherington shared the perils of traveling while in an electric wheelchair. When he attempted to board an Alaska Airlines flight from Eugene, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington, where he had tickets to see the Renaissance World Tour, the airline told him his chair was too large to fit on the plane.
The airline tried to find Hetherington, who has cerebral palsy, another flight that could accommodate his chair, but the first plane that could do it would get him to Seattle 12 hours too late. Instead, Hetherington had his flight refunded and his hopes of seeing Queen Bey crushed.
“After 25 years of waiting, I’m not seeing Beyoncé tonight,” he said in the TikTok. “Ableism strikes again.”
Seeing this gross injustice, Beyoncé’s fandom, aka the BeyHive, sprung into action, tagging Beyoncé and her team across social media to bring attention to Hetherington’s situation and get him to a concert.
Lo and behold, it worked.
Beyoncé’s team reached out to Hetherington and offered him a floor seat at Beyoncé’s Thursday night show in Arlington, Texas. They also arranged for his transportation, guaranteeing he’d be booked on an accessible aircraft.
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On Instagram, Hetherington expressed his gratitude to the BeyHive for making his dream come true.
“For the past, for Marsha, James, and Bayard. For the present, for O’Shae. For those who are becoming in a time that has yet to exist. We partied, we sang, we danced… HARD,” Hetherington wrote. “Beyhive, you made this happen, you pushed and tagged like the internet has never seen. Tonight, for the first time ever, I had a seat on the floor for a concert. Welcome to the RENAISSANCE.”
At the concert, Hetherington got to meet Beyoncé’s mother, the legendary Tina Knowles, who he shared a picture with on Instagram. He also met Beyoncé herself backstage, though what the two talked about remains a mystery: “I will treasure those words you said and the hugs you gave. I meant every word I said. No, for anyone and everyone reading this, I will not ever share with you what was said to me, don’t even try it. That moment is between the two of us,” Hetherington wrote.
Moral of the story: Never underestimate the power of the Hive.