P.E.I musician’s vintage guitar stabbed by airport forklift, Air Canada offers to replace the case

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It’s a one-of-a-kind guitar, an instrument so beloved musician Remi Claude Arsenault calls it his “best friend.”

But the handmade Larrivee met its match with an airport forklift that left gaping stab wounds in the body of the vintage 1978 guitar.

Arsenault said Friday he was on his way home from the Milwaukee Irish Fest, where he was performing with Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy and family, when the irreparable damage occurred.

He said he was speechless and heartbroken when he saw his guitar.

“I was shaking pretty bad,” Arsenault said.

“When you see your instrument in that shape, it’s almost like someone in the family is sick.”

Not Air Canada’s finest day. While on tour with Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy my best friend appears to have been…

Posted by Rémi Claude Arsenault on Friday, August 24, 2018

An Air Canada employee was very sympathetic but informed him that the airline could replace the case only – not the instrument, he said.

Arsenault posted photos of his broken guitar on social media, saying it was “not Air Canada’s finest day.”

“My best friend appears to have been stabbed by a forklift,” he said in the Facebook post. “The airline has offered to pay for a new case. I think they’re missing the point.”

The post appeared to hit a nerve with musicians fearful of entrusting fragile instruments with airlines and was shared thousands of times.

“The musician world is a small world and when you see something like that it reaches out to all the musicians and everybody can relate and feel the pain,” Arsenault said.

“Everybody has to take flights to go do their gigs, and things like that shouldn’t happen.”

An Air Canada spokeswoman says the airline is looking into what could have caused the damage and has been in touch with Arsenault to ensure it has all the appropriate information regarding compensation.

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