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Southwest Flight Attendant Who Took Baby From Mom Alters Story

By helaineo |

Remember Beverly Kay McCurley, the flight attendant who took the screaming baby from the way too agitated mom on a Southwest Airlines flight earlier this week?

Depending on one’s viewpoint, McCurley was either a heroic bystander, refusing to allow a mother to abuse her child (if you need to be reminded of the exact gory details, you can read Strollerderby writer Bethany Sanders’ account here), or an epic buttinski, a woman who intruded in on a situation she had no right be involved in.

In the original accounts of the incident, McCurley stepped in and took the baby from the mom after the mom hit the baby, walking the child to the back of the plane. She was joined by the child’s father, who rocked the squalling baby to sleep.

Not so fast.

According to an interview with the Dallas Morning News,  McCurley says she simply asked the parents if she could hold the child. They gave her the baby temporarily, while the dad got up from his seat. The flight attendant than gave the girl to back to her father, and they both went to the back of the plane.

None of this, of course, alters the basic facts of the situation, which included a nasty family squabble and a mother who more or less admitted to hitting a 13 month old child.

So what do you think? If you believe McCurley should not have gotten involved, does this new information change your view of the situation? Or do you believe that the only problem here is that the parents got the baby back at all,  and that McCurley should have kept the baby even if she had to flip the switch for the emergency exit chute?

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About helaineo



Helaine Olen's writing has been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal,, and, where she is an associate editor. Her first book, Office Mate: The Guide to Finding True Love on the Job will be published this fall. She lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

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7 thoughts on “Southwest Flight Attendant Who Took Baby From Mom Alters Story

  1. Rosana says:

    No matter how it happened, she did the right thing by removing the girl from a situation she shouldn’t have been in to begin with.

  2. Mimi says:

    To me, this makes the flight attendent even more amazing. To be able to keep your wits about you and ask a family or parent if you could assist them by holding their baby while everyone calmed down is the epitome of empathy. I know that if I was ever in the position where one of my kids was having a temper tantrum or causing a holy ruckus and someone–anyone!!!–offered in a helpful voice to hold them or assist me, I would be so incredibly grateful. Even, and especially, if I was acting worse than my child. I’ve never hit my kids, but heaven knows I can throw a temper tantrum with the best of them ;)

  3. [...] Southwest Flight Attendant Who Took Baby From Mom Alters Story [...]

  4. [...] Southwest Flight Attendant Who Took Baby From Mom Alters Story [...]

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  6. melissa says:

    Comments if more people would get involved, there would be less death due to parents beating their kids. no one wants to get involved, yet everyone wants to cry foul when a child dies at the hands of their parents! we are a nation of people who want things to be different, but we want someone else to make the changes. we are lazy and uncaring.

  7. Heather says:

    Several years ago, when my daughter was about 18 months old, we had to fly as a family on a 14 hour flight. That day, we had gotten up in the (very) wee hours, gotten on another plane to fly to the hub that would begin our international flight, and then waited for hours and hours in airports before boarding the plane for the last leg of our journey. We were tired. We were stressed. And although I know it cannot be literally true, my memories of the trip made it feel as though my 18 month old was screaming The Entire 14 Hours. She was buckled in her car seat for safety, but she wanted to toddle around. This is just not possible on an airplane. There are carts going up and down the narrow aisles, people trying to go to the restroom, and let’s not forget that the lights have been dimmed and everyone is supposed to be resting. I held her and jiggled her and sang for her and rocked her and walked up and down and up and down the aisles until I felt like my arms were going to fall off. She did not sleep. She did not even glance at the in-flight movies (which were completely inappropriate for her anyway, being some violent Clint Eastwood film and foreign-language news programs). She didn’t want food or snuggles or toys – at least not for more than a minute or two. I cannot say how much I wished for a break during that flight. I think there was more than one moment when both my daughter and I were in tears. Of course I didn’t yell at or intimidate my baby – although I think there was definitely some pleading – but I would have been eternally grateful if anyone – another passenger or a flight attendant – could have offered to try something I hadn’t thought of to settle down my angry baby. I feel for the woman on the plane who made such horrific choices – my husband was on our flight but he sat in a different aisle and slept and pretended not to know us. It is NEVER okay to strike a baby. But I can empathize with the exhaustion and frustration and yes, shame, that may have caused her to go over the edge. Sometimes a mother just needs a minute of respite before she can jump back into the trenches.

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