A request to the autism community

imageYesterday was interesting with all the articles, shares, and talk about the family that was escorted off the United flight because of their “daughters autism”. Public opinion quickly divided. One side was completely outraged that an airline would “divert a flight because someone was autistic” I saw petitions, threats of lawsuit for discrimination etc. There were testimonies from the passengers that the girl wasn’t disruptive, which fed the public outcry.

The other side was quick to place the blame on the mother because she “should” have had the forethought to bring a heated meal for her daughter. I saw much of this side in emphatic comments on articles, posts etc.

It’s a true testament to the power of social media in that details were skewed to place the blame on one side.

Ironically, the entire reason for the diversion was NOT because of the girls actual behavior onboard the aircraft – it was because of what the mother said would happen if they didn’t accommodate her request. (Meltdown, scratching etc). The crew has to treat any comment by a passenger as a threat. (We’ve seen enough tragedy to understand why that is the case). Whether they could have done something to remedy the “threat” and continue to their final destination, I don’t know. I wasn’t there.

Being in the airline customer service sector prior to having kids, I feel that I can speak to what can happen when people travel via airline. It can bring out the absolute worst in people – not having “control” over situations. I’ve seen it innumerable times – I have even BEEN that person (last week as a matter of fact). So, I’m not going to speculate or judge the mother for what she may have done.

I’m not judging the flight crew either, for their decisions, because we DON’T know the entire story that led up to the video of the calm girl we saw being escorted off the plane. I’m definitely not going to judge a company and thousands of employees by the actions of 1 flight crew.

What I would like to see is for people to be objective about what happened – Instead of placing blame, try to understand where both sides were coming from so we can see where the breakdown may have occurred Then try to prevent it from happening to someone else in the future.

2 thoughts on “A request to the autism community

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