Parenting

Mom in American Airlines Stroller Incident Accused of Faking It

Airlines have been having a rough go of it in the media lately — mostly for situations that could have potentially been avoided. Recently, a mom traveling with her 15-month-old twins experienced an unfortunate incident on an American Airlines flight, and not surprisingly, the story, which went viral, has taken an ugly turn. First, here is what happened, according to another passenger who posted a video of the incident on Facebook:

OMG! AA Flight attendant violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby. Then he tried to fight a passenger who stood up for her. AA591 from SFO to DFW.

OMG! AA Flight attendant violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby. Then he tried to fight a passenger who stood up for her. AA591 from SFO to DFW.

Posted by Surain Adyanthaya on Friday, April 21, 2017

Mom.me covered the story:

The “passenger who stood up for her,” later identified as Tony Fierro, got up from his seat, approached the front of the plane, asked for the flight attendant’s name and returned to his seat.

Not too long after, Fierro gets up again and addresses the flight attendant, saying, “Hey bud, hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat!”

The attendant tells Fierro to stay out of it and dares the passenger to “hit me, hit me … bring it on.”

“A baby almost got hurt. That’s what just fired me up, so that was it. I don’t want to make a big deal about it,” Fierro told WFAA.

Apparently, the mom, who was traveling alone with toddler twins, forgot or didn’t realize that she had to check her double stroller. A stroller of that size needs to be checked with other luggage, but smaller, collapsible strollers can be checked at the gate. Who knows why she forgot (did I mention she had twin babies with her?), but the fact remains that the flight attendant handled the situation very poorly. So poorly, in fact, that American Airlines suspended him while they continue to investigate the incident. The mother was left sobbing, probably from feeling overwhelmed with the situation (ahem, traveling alone with twin toddlers and then getting hit with her stroller by a belligerent flight attendant—who should have been helping—in front of a plane full of people).

Here was the airline’s response:

“We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts. What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers. We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident. We are making sure all of her family’s needs are being met while she is in our care. After electing to take another flight, we are taking special care of her and her family and upgrading them to first class for the remainder of their international trip.

“The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care. In short, we are disappointed by these actions. The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident.”

Now, that’s where the story should have ended. But it didn’t, thanks to the freaking Internet. Several people who viewed the video online chimed in with their two cents when they really should have just continued on with their day.

Once again from Mom.me:

In the video thread alone are eye-roll inducing comments like:

“The woman is highly over exaggerating with that fake sobbing she’s doing.”

“Some of you (people) will believe any woman crying … that sh*t was fake and I’m sure she probably put her kids in more danger than he did.”

“I travel often with my baby … and flight crew always helps me with my luggage and everything. This lady is over acting for sympathy … in which she deserves none.”

I challenge anyone to be in the same situation and not at least be affected by it. Parenting is hard. Traveling alone with small children is hard. Being berated by a person whose job it is to help you is hard. And maybe, just maybe, the mom had an otherwise rough morning. Who knows. But she is completely entitled to whatever reaction she had. End of story. Sanctimommies need to check themselves because no one knows what it’s like in someone else’s shoes. Period.