Passengers applauded as a seven-year-old boy was deplaned during an allergic reaction.
File this under: everything that’s wrong with humanity. A seven-year-old boy was escorted off a plane during a severe allergy attack, and rather than showing concern, his mom says the passengers around them broke into applause.
Christina Fabian tells KTAR she had just boarded an Allegiant flight to Phoenix with her terminally ill husband, George Alvarado, and their son Giovani, when the young boy began itching all over and broke out in hives. Perplexed, Fabian says she asked a flight attendant if there were any animals on board, and the flight attendant responded rudely that there are “dogs on every flight,” and essentially dismissed Giovani’s condition.
According to KTAR, the family was moved to different seats, but Giovani’s allergic reaction ultimately became so severe that airport medical services determined it was unsafe for him to fly. The family gathered their things and was escorted off the plane, but not before everyone around them broke into joyous applause. “When we stood up and walked to the front of the plane, the [people] in the back of the plane applauded,” Fabian told KTAR.“It wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault we got off the plane, but it was the flight attendant’s attitude that perpetuated people’s agitated behavior around us.”
Little did the other passengers realize, the family was heading home from a “bucket list” trip for George, who is terminally ill with stage four throat cancer. The family had traveled to Bellingham, Washington, hoping to make memories with George before his illness worsens. In a post on Facebook, Fabian wrote that her son was devastated by the response they got from the other passengers, and says Giovani feels personally responsible for ruining his father’s memories. She writes:
“What crushed us was that our 7 yr old boy looked at us with tear filled eyes and said, ‘I’m sorry that I put you through this. This is all my fault’ then he proceeded to say, ‘I can’t believe that people clapped. They shouldn’t do that because they never know who already has sadness in their hearts.’ He was making memories with his father. Memories that you have now become part of. He will never forget that you clapped as he de-boarded that plane. Thank you for your insulting, ignorant, insinuating comments that minimized my son’s experience, and make a horrible memory at the end of my husbands life. Shame on you for being so cruel.”
As this story makes the rounds, dozens of people are speculating that perhaps the applause was simply excitement over the flight taking off and not directed towards Giovani and his family at all. While it’s admirable that many are so willing to give these passengers the benefit of the doubt, it would have been nice if the passengers had done the same for Giovani and his family.
Flight delays suck, but not a single person on that flight — outside of the staff and the family — truly knew what was going on or the details of Giovani’s condition. Have we really become so selfish that we think our own ability to get somewhere on time is more important than anything else that could possibly be going on? People didn’t clap because they were excited; they clapped because they lack compassion. They clapped because they think rushing to their next destination is more important than a kid with allergies, or his sick dad, or why that family was even sitting on that particular flight in the first place.
The bottom line is, people matter more than our inability to sit still on a plane for half an hour. It’s crushing that a seven-year-old kid has to walk around feeling like he permanently marred an item on his father’s bucket list, and that he’ll forever associate this trip with that time a plane full of people treated his entire family like an annoyance. Whether people were excited to get moving or not, they should still be able to exercise compassion. Hopefully Giovani’s mom and dad can find a way to help him understand that it’s the others on the plane — not him — who really screwed up.