I’m the first to admit when I’m ready to build a dungeon in my house just so I can leave my 2-year-old there to allow me 30 minutes or even 30 seconds of alone time. But if someone else were to stick my 2-year-old in their dungeon for even a millisecond, I’d be hopping mad.
So I can only imagine how one family felt after a Virgin Blue flight attendant locked their 17-month-old in the overhead bin of an airplane.
Natalie Williamson, her husband and their son Riley were flying from Fiji to Sydney, Australia, when Williamson’s husband and their son were playing peek-a-boo and a flight attendant joined in by stowing Riley along with the carry-on luggage.
“I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said ‘Get my son out of there now’,” Natalie said in the Sunday Herald Sun. Within 10 seconds he was removed from the overhead bin.
The airline conducted an investigation and the flight attendant was subsequently fired. Virgin has offered the Williamsons free flights, but Natalie said she’s too shaken up by the incident to redeem them, according to MSNBC.com.
So, here’s the thing: Riley is now 20 months old and “has seen various specialists since the incident” because his mom says he’s “suffering from anxiety and withdrawal.”
Now, I’m no lawyer and I have no idea if the family has filed a suit or plans to, but I’ve watched Nancy Grace enough (OK, once) to know that’s lawsuit language if I’ve ever heard it. I totally agree that particular flight attendant should be not in the vicinity of toddlers and overhead bins anymore, and while I’d be fuming and calling for blood, the flight attendant’s firing and the refund of my tickets would likely have suited me just fine.
“He won’t leave my sight now,” Riley’s mom said. “He sleeps with me. If I’m not in the same room as him, he will scream and yell ‘Mum, mum, mum.’ ”
So, is that something he wasn’t doing before the overhead bin incident? Were 10 terrible seconds of his life enough to give him Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Obviously I don’t know the family involved, I’m just saying that I had a 17-month-old once, and there were many mini traumas in her life, too — mostly anything involving her not getting her way — but none that stayed with her for much longer than the duration of the incident.
If Riley is really suffering as a result of his 10 seconds with the carry-on bags, I think the airline should pay dearly to ensure he gets the care he needs. Of course, seeing as though I’m not a doctor (in addition to not being a lawyer), I have no idea how the cause of his anxiety and attachment to his mom will be linked to the Virgin incident.
Either way, I sincerely hope little Riley will be OK, and I also hope that his trauma isn’t the result of anyone in his family with dollar signs in their eyes.
Image: Wikimedia Commons