Damian McCoy has spent his life grappling with the everyday challenges caused by two tragic events in his childhood: a car accident that left him with cerebral palsy and his mother’s death.
But all the strength Mr McCoy has built up in the 40 years since those events melted after a trip to Brisbane ended with him locked out of Devonport Airport in the freezing night air, wondering what had happened to the taxi he’d booked an hour earlier.
“The airport was closed, I'm waiting in the dark, my phone had run out of battery so I couldn't call anyone and I'm there with a disability waiting for a taxi,” he said.
Seeing airline staff leave in a Maxi Taxi reserved for them only added insult to injury.
“When they all drove off I felt utterly dejected, lost, isolated and angry,” he said.
Mr McCoy has lashed out at Taxi Combined Devonport, which did pick him up after half an hour.
Qantas staff booked the taxi for him shortly after his connecting flight from Melbourne took off.
Mr McCoy wanted to use a different taxi company because of past bad experiences but said he was told Taxi Combined Devonport was the only service that could be booked.
Devonport Airport general manager Dave Race said the airport didn’t have an exclusive contract with Taxi Combined Devonport that would prevent another company being booked.
“In order to provide the best possible service to its customers, Devonport Airport uses two local taxi companies,” Mr Race said.
“Customers with concerns about their taxi service should discuss the matter with the taxi company.”
The manager of Taxi Combined Devonport was unavailable for comment.
Mr McCoy is trying to move past the incident as he prepares to move to Brisbane for medical treatment.
But he worries others may face the same situation.
“What if someone with a severe disability gets out there and it happens to them?,” he said.
“It's not about me. It's about people who required services out there and they aren't there, they are not being met.”