Marine Lance Cpl. Christian Brown, a disabled veteran, was wheeled down to the last row of the airplane and bumped up against aisle seats after he had assumed he would board toward the front. He was embarrassed to tears, the Washington Post reports.
What's more, when two first-class passengers on a Delta airlines flight saw Brown, who lost both his legs after stepping on an explosive device in Afghanistan, suffer a humiliating boarding process, they offered to switch seats with him -- a gesture that was refused by the flight attendant, retired Army Lt. Col. Keith Gafford told the Washington Post.
“[He] was obviously humiliated by being paraded through the aircraft and was visibly upset,” Retired Army Col. Nickey Knighton, a fellow passenger on the Atlanta to Washington flight wrote in a complaint, obtained by the Washington Post. “I touched Brown on his shoulders and asked if he was okay. Tears ran down his face, but he did not cry out loud.”
To make matters worse, Brown was battling a high fever, and was heading to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., according to the Post.
Delta issued a statement indicating they were investigating the incident, the news outlet reports.
Sadly this isn’t the first time airlines have allegedly mistreated veterans.
Last month, former Marine Sgt. Joseph Smith filed a lawsuit against United Airlines and airport workers at Chicago O’Hare International airport alleging that airline workers tipped over his wheelchair while boarding a plane, which caused his catheter bag to spill and left him to soak in his own urine on the flight, CBS Chicago reports. The incident happened two year ago, according to the Post.
In July, Jim Stanek, a three-tour Iraq veteran said United Airlines employees kicked his service dog, Sarge, and asked him if he was retarded, the Daily Mail reports. He later posted a YouTube video describing the episode.
Stanek, who has a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, says the incident has inspired him to reach out to others who have been mistreated by United Airlines staff and also to raise awareness for PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, according to the Daily Mail.
“You can’t see all my wounds but I still feel like I need to be treated appropriately. I'm not asking for a red carpet, but just treat me the way that I need to be treated,” Stanek said in the video.