So who paid for it?

Fri May 24, 9:37 AM ET

SYDNEY - A disabled Australian took a 1,240 mile taxi
ride which cost A$5,500 (US$3,000) after he was
refused a plane seat because he was not accompanied by
someone to look after him, the man's mother said on
Friday.


Wheelchair-bound Joe Archer took a taxi from Brisbane
airport in tropical Queensland state on Monday at the
start of a bizarre odyssey through four states which
skirted the Australian outback and ended in his home
town of Adelaide on Thursday.

Police officers approached cab driver Ken Marshall as
he sat at the Brisbane airport cab rank and asked if
he would drive Archer, a quadriplegic, home.

Archer had been refused a seat on a Qantas flight in
line with airline policy which stipulates passengers
requiring constant attention must travel with a
care-giver.

Archer's mother said she could not understand why her
son had been refused a plane seat after he had flown
unattended from Adelaide to Brisbane on Australia's
northeast coast. "It's embarrassing, I'd prefer it
didn't happen," Joan Archer was quoted as saying in
The Adelaide Advertiser on Friday.

"He went up there without a carer so why shouldn't he
come back without a carer?...It could have been
avoided if they'd put him on a plane and flown him
back," she said.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the decision to refuse
Archer a seat was in line with existing airline
procedures.

"It's certainly in line with our policy," spokeswoman
Melissa Thompson told Reuters. She said she understood
Archer had had "a level of assistance" on the flight
to Brisbane but could not give any more details.

Cab driver Marshall became Archer's de facto carer on
the long trip, during which Archer paid for meals and
accommodation.

They drove through tiny Goondiwindi in outback
Queensland and on to Dubbo and then Mildura on the New
South Wales-Victoria border and through the Barossa
Valley wine region in South Australia state before
arriving in Adelaide.

The journey -- 1,600 km (994 miles) as the crow flies
-- stretched out well over 2,000 km and was tracked by
a convoy of about eight media cars and two helicopters
over the final stages.

Archer became distressed as he neared home and police
escorted him to an Adelaide hospital for a check-up.

"There was no goodbye or thank you at the end of the
journey, he just rolled off in his wheelchair,"
Marshall told reporters.

"I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep and a
good feed and I'm looking forward to heading home to
the family," he said.