Security guard forces two disabled men to crawl to their cars
Two disabled men were forced to crawl to their car after a security guard refused to let them take borrowed wheelchairs past a shopping centre entrance.
Westfield, which manages Fountain Gate shopping centre in Melbourne, apologised to the two men, who have muscular dystrophy.
The pair, both in their 40s, had used wheelchairs loaned to them by the shopping centre in Narre Warren.
They said a security guard had insisted they leave the chairs at the entrance and cover the five metres to their cars unaided.
Sandra Costa, the sister of one of the men, said the experience had been humiliating.
"Every time I think about it I get emotional," she told 3AW radio. "They have a disability. They need the courtesy to be treated like human beings," she said.
Westfield's director of corporate affairs Mark Ryan said the company deeply regretted the incident. It should never have happened, he said.
"I think undoubtedly (the family) deserve an apology. Once our management team provide me with a brief of the facts, Westfield will be seeking to meet with the people concerned."
Equal Opportunity Commission chief executive officer Helen Szoke said she was appalled by the incident.
"They had to crawl three to five metres. A 40-year-old person with muscular dystrophy - it's massively debilitating.
"Do you think anyone crawling three to five metres to get to their car is acceptable? How would you feel if you were told to do that?"
"At some stage you have to ask - where is the cost benefit analysis of allowing people to use a piece of equipment like a wheelchair? You would think shopping centres would see this as part of their service provision - even forgetting about human dignity."