Gary Rubinson traveled the world while serving in the US Army. These days, he relies on a wheelchair to get around, but he doesn’t let that slow him down.
“We used to go to the Threshers games," Gary explained. "My son’s autistic, and baseball is the only thing that makes him light up.”
Last April, after upgrading to a new vehicle, the VA sent Gary to a local company, Mobility Express, to install the lift for his wheelchair. Everything seemed fine until two weeks later.
“I was in a parking lot, and it came down. Luckily, I was only doing about five miles an hour, so it didn’t do any damage under here," he said.
Gary called Mobility Express. The company came out, took the old lift and installed a new one on his car; but a few months later, there was more trouble.
“I was driving along with it, and everything was fine for a couple of months," Gary explained. "And then, in October, going down the road, ‘boom’, it fell again.”
Without a wheelchair, Gary says his life is on hold.
“I mean I can drive and run into a store if I can pull up right up front and go in, but if I need to go somewhere like a Threshers game, there’s no way," he said. "I can’t even get into the stadium without a wheelchair.”
The VA stepped up and gave him a smaller wheelchair that Gary keeps in the back of his vehicle and puts together when he needs it.
“What I do, is I lean against this, and I grab and place it on the ground," Gary said. "I build it.”
He’s happy to have another wheelchair option, but he says he still has damage on his car that needs to be fixed.
“Every time I start it up, something is loose, and it’s a major rattle under there; and I know that the bumper is way out of whack," Gary said. "I thought this was originally just vinyl, but it’s vinyl coated steel. The steel is bent.”
After nearly eight months, his car is still damaged.
“VA has said as far as the damage on this car, well that’s Mobility Express’ problem, you need to deal with them," Gary explained.
10Investigates reached out to Mobility Express. The CEO, Fares Rached says Gary’s situation is very rare.
“I’ve never seen this happen ever," Rached explained. "So, for it to happen twice on the same vehicle with two different hitches from two different companies, it’s extreme.”
Mr. Rached says his priority is safety.
“The last I heard was he wanted the whole system replaced and our position was, wait, this is unusual," Rached said. "We need to figure out what’s happening, not just repeat the same problem, not just for his safety but for other people.”
Rached also says he is willing to look at Gary’s vehicle and figure out if he can help with repairs.
“We’re happy to help Mr. Rubinson," Rached said. "If he wants to stop in and visit I’m more than happy to sit with him and look at his car.”
Mobility Express says it is still trying to figure out what caused both of Mr. Rubinson’s wheelchair lifts to break. Rached tells us the business will be sure to warn other customers of the issues in the future.
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