Double Amputee Speaks Out After Sports Star's Son Destroys Wheelchair
Sydney Bennes was in her favorite bar, Sullivan's Pub in Erie, Pennsylvania, when her wheelchair was damaged by Caron Briere, the son of NHL player-turned-executive Danny Briere.
She's the young woman whose wheelchair was pushed down a staircase by a college student.
Now, she is talking to Inside Edition about that night, and the man who shoved her wheelchair.
"It was really hurtful and disrespectful, and just kind of heartbreaking," says Sydney Bennes of the incident. "I need this. I need this chair."
The 22-year-old had both of her legs were amputated two years ago following a car crash.
She was in her favorite bar, Sullivan's Pub in Erie, Pennsylvania, when her wheelchair was damaged as a result of the actions of Carson Briere, the son of NHL player-turned-executive Danny Briere.
Moments before the incident, Sydney and her friends were enjoying a few drinks.
Sydney then had to use the restroom, and called over her friend, who also happens to be the security guard at Sullivan's, to help her out.
She left her wheelchair at the top of the stairs, and tucked it away in the corner while her friend carried her down the two flights of stairs to the restroom.
Then, as she started to return to her friends, she saw her damaged wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs.
"All that kept going through my mind was, 'this was an accident. I really hope somebody just accidentally bumped it down the stairs somehow,'" Sydney tells Inside Edition's Alison Hall.
It was not an accident however, and the bar staff quickly identified the culprit.
After reviewing security footage, Carson and his friends were kicked out of the bar.
Carson did get a chance before he left to apologize to Sydney, but she says that his attempt fell flat.
"Carson was told to come and apologize to me before they kicked him out, and the apology was quite insincere," Sydney says. "People were saying, 'Oh, he's acting like a child, He is acting like a child.'"
She then adds: "No child would throw a wheelchair down the staircase."
Carson later issued a public apology as did his father, and Sydney says he has reached out to apologize to her personally in the wake of the incident.
Meanwhile, a bulk of the cash donated via a GoFundMe that was created for Sydney will be going to others in need she says, having already raised over $8,000.
Sydney is also hoping to raise something even more important than money though — awareness.
"I'd rather take this and turn it into a learning experience for everybody, you know?" Sydney says. "I'd rather make people more aware of the stuff that disabled people have to go through."
She then explains: "We just want a little bit of help a little bit, a little bit of understanding."
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