Woman misses sister’s wake after wheelchair van is a no show

Transportation company apologizes

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Joan Bowen never made it to her sister’s wake. That’s because a local cab company failed to show up.

And now that cab company is apologizing for what turned out to be a missed opportunity that Bowen will never be able to get back.

Her sister, Mary Kavanagh, 94, died recently.

The two were not only sisters but very close companions who did everything together.

“I still can’t get over it. I still think about it,” said Bowen, who’s 85 and residing at the Beechwood Nursing Home in Getzville.

Bowen’s family made arrangements with Liberty Cab company for a wheelchair van to take Bowen to her sister’s wake.

She required specialized transportation that family members couldn’t provide on their own.

But the next day the van never arrived.

“We got her ready. Wheeled her up to the front,” said Bill Voght, Bowen’s nephew.

Voght says Liberty Cab was scheduled to take Bowen from the nursing home to the funeral home in Kenmore.

“I ended up calling five times total,” he said.

But the minutes passed by. The wheelchair van was a no show.

“It was just heartbreaking for all of us, especially for Aunt Joan,” said Diane Voght, Bowen’s niece, who says she even called Liberty Cab a couple of hours before the scheduled pick up just to confirm.

“I felt I did everything right. It wasn’t like I called at the last minute,” she said.

A spokesman with Liberty Cab says the company is looking into what happened.

“I want to offer our absolute deep sincere apologies to the family,” said Mark Robinson, business development consultant with Liberty Cab. “Everything right now is pointing toward the driver accepting other calls instead of taking the one he was assigned. And we will get to the bottom of it.”

Bowen called the whole experience “very upsetting,” and says she deeply regrets not being able to attend her sister’s wake.

“You can’t take back now what happened,” she said.

Mark Robinson — who’s already reached out to the family — says what happened to Bowen is not indicative of the company.

“We’re sorry. We really are. And as I told Diane on the phone, I wish we could turn the clock back. I really do.”

He says Liberty Cab will do everything possible to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

When asked whether the company can make things right, Diane Voght suggests the cab company apologize to her aunt in person and make a donation to the charity of her choice in honor of her aunt’s deceased sister.

“But other than that there’s really nothing that they could do.”


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