Monday, April 10, 2017

DEAR UNITED AIRLINES: GOOD-BYE


I do not rush to judgement.

Even in this social-media driven world that loves to overreact and make a decision based on a headline instead of reading the entire article, I am pretty measured and realize that even the
thinnest pancake has two sides.

Having been part of the media for 18 years and counting, I know how it can twist, shape, and edit
sound bites to make it convenient for their story. I realize that video can, indeed,  lie depending
how it's shot and which part television networks want to cut out.

With that said and everything that's been seen, the incident that occurred aboard a United Airlines
flight, was truly despicable. It cannot, under any circumstance or situation, be defended by the
airliner or anyone else, for that matter. It's cut and dried.

A flight was overbooked. Employees on the airline all of a sudden needed to be on it. It turned
out to be an unlucky day for an elderly Asian physician who needed to be home to care for
some of his patients.

For some reason, he was the chosen one. The one who would be manhandled, humiliated, and
scarred both physically and mentally. Three security "officials" decided to literally rip the man
out of his seat and drag him off the plane in front of more than 100 passengers. I reckon the
gentleman knew he'd be arrested if he tried to fight off the overzealous security animals who,
for some reason, felt they had to justify their positions.

A man dragged off a plane? In the year 2017? At a time when the entire world is equipped
with a cell phone? Hello, major lawsuit. Good-bye hundreds of customers.

I can understand if the passenger was inebriated and unruly, that would've been deserved. If
he made like Gaylord Focker in "Meet the Parents" and talked about a bomb, I would've cheered
it. If he was like Charles Oakley and started pushing the security guards, I would have applauded
it.

But the guy did nothing. Absolutely nothing. He didn't deserve that.

The man was just minding his own business and wanted to go home. He had no interest in volunteering to get off the plane and receive a voucher. That's not against anything. Not the
law, not airplane etiquette, not anything. Yet, he becomes fodder for some goons trying to
audition for the WWE.

Is this what our society is coming to? Is it a by-product of all the hate that is spewed against
others on social-media? I mean, there is something going in our society today and it's not
all that good. I remember seeing six police officers tackling Eric Garner, an unarmed man,
then putting him in a choke hold that eventually killed him. Garner was selling untaxed
cigarettes. Yeah, he was a real threat to the officers and society.

I remember seeing James Blake, a former world-class tennis player, just standing outside
his hotel in NYC just checking out his cell phone before he was tackled and thrown to the
ground by some cop who thought he was Rambo while investigating an identity fraud case.

Identity fraud? Untaxed cigarettes? A man sitting in his seat on an overbooked flight?
Seriously? That's how humans are treating fellow humans? Ones who are not armed, dangerous,
or a threat to anybody?

United Airlines suspended one of the goons who dragged the man off the plane. That wasn't
a hard decision even for the most inept CEO's. Neither will the offer of a free flight to anywhere
in the country for the man and his family. It's the least the airline can do.

United Airlines will settle out of court with the man and pay him for the embarrassment and
physical pain he endured. The last thing United wants is more bad publicity. They want the
public to forget about it as soon as possible. That won't be easy because a lot of people have
already said, good-bye, and rightfully so.






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