By Amy Rudpolh
Elm Staff Writer
This week, United Airlines tested a new way to re-accommodate patrons on their flights. After 69 year old Dr. David Dao refused to give up his seat that he had paid for, and was sitting in, three Chicago Airport police officers violently removed him from his seat and dragged him off the plane. Dao was beaten and bloodied in the altercation, and can expect a hefty check coming his way some time soon.
United Airlines justified their actions, saying that the plane was overbooked and that four United staff members had to be on the flight. Some said that Dao was asking for it by not getting out of his seat voluntarily, but there is no rhyme or reason to forcibly ejecting customers from their seats, especially when they are not being violent or disruptive. Plenty of posters on Facebook are demonizing this man while news stations are working to dig up about his past. This was an elderly man just trying to fly home, not some roided up maniac who was being aggressive to a point where he had to be removed to protect others.
Dao is not the criminal here, United Airlines is. He was a victim of United Airline’s intenioal overbooking.
No matter what Dao did in his past or agreed to in his purchasing of the ticket, he is the victim here. I can’t imagine how I would have reacted in that situation, but I doubt it would have been much different.
If it were me or someone who looked like me, it probably never would have happened. This well-respected, elderly, Asian surgeon should have been treated the same way by onlookers. Even if he wasn’t a great surgeon flying home to potentially save lives, he didn’t deserve to have that happen to him.
Dao escaped Saigon in 1975 and his attorney told NBC News, “He said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving Vietnam.” An airline flight shouldn’t be worse than fleeing a war-torn country.
United Airlines is one of the faceless entities out there who victimizes the consumer every day, but he had never done so physically to this extent,
There is no justification that they can provide as to why they had to eject Dao in that way. Any argument that they make about his reluctance to get up is going to sound like every seven year old bully who says, “well he started it,” even though they actually did. United and others online are forgetting that Dao is a victim in all of this.
To make matters worse, the internet also repsonded with a flurry of memes and other images parodying the event. One internet user repurporsed the Southwest Airlines logo to read, “We beat the competition not you.” These jokes trivialize the aggressive acts of the United Airlines security and completely leave Dr. Dao out of the picture.
If Dao were to see these images afterwards, it would serve as nothing more than a reminder of an incident that should never have taken place that left his face, and probably his ego, bruised.