After Jon Hetherington, 34, shared a TikTok saying he was unable to board his flight to see the superstar, 42, in Seattle because he was told the airline couldn’t accommodate his wheelchair, fellow Queen Bey fans tried to get him to another show. On Thursday, the BeyHive’s hard work paid off and, in addition to seeing the show in Arlington, Texas, he met the “Break My Soul” artist and her mother Tina Knowles.
Hetherington, who The New York Times reports has cerebral palsy, shared what an incredible experience he had on Instagram by posting a photo of himself smiling on the floor of AT&T Stadium. “Beyhive, you made this happen, you pushed and tagged like the internet has never seen,” the music fan wrote in the caption. “Tonight, for the first time ever, I had a seat on the floor for a concert.”
He also reflected on the late activists Marsha P. Johnson, James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin, as well as O’Shae Sibley, who was killed at age 28 in a hate crime while vogueing to Beyoncé’s music earlier this year. He wrote, “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.”
Later, Hertherington revealed he met Queen Bey herself and her mother, 69, at the show on Instagram. He shared a selfie with himself and Knowles, expressing his gratitude to the mother-daughter duo in the caption.
“Truly an honor to meet you, @mstinaknowles! Thank you for all that you’ve done and given the world. We’re so grateful,” he said.
While Hetherington explained that he would like to keep his conversation with the Grammy winner between the two of them, he alluded to the special moment they shared. He added, “To the Queen herself, @beyonce, I will treasure those words you said and the hugs you gave. I meant every word I said.”
In his original TikTok, Hetherington spoke about the challenges he experienced at the airport. “Got to the airport to take my flight and they tell me that my chair is apparently four inches too tall to be loaded onto the plane, so they checked every possible flight, every airline and nothing was available,” he said. “So after 25 years of waiting, I’m not seeing Beyoncé tonight. Ableism strikes again.”
According to The Times, after fans tagged the singer and her management across social media, one of her representatives reached out to Hetherington and arranged for his travels to the concert.
“We have not built our society or this country in a way that is fully inclusive,” Hetherington told the Times. “Day to day, [people with disabilities are] kind of ignored and invisible.”
When sharing the article on social media, he spoke out about how he wants to use his platform.
He wrote, “This may be the only time the nation hears my voice and knows my name. I have something to say. I hope you’ll listen and join me in the work.”
Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour kicked off with a string of European dates in May and began its North American leg in July. The epic, two-and-a-half-hour show has been called a love letter to Black queer people.