I’ll tell you one person who clearly isn’t a parent; the flight attendant of a recent JetBlue flight who wouldn’t allow a toddler to avail herself of the airplane facilities. Not that you need to be a parent to understand a dire urge to relieve one’s self. You just need to be a human being with a bladder.
But yeah, that happened, apparently. According to Yahoo, Jennifer Deveraux was traveling with her two daughters when their flight was delayed on the tarmac at JFK in New York City. As often happens with toddlers, Deveraux’s 3-year-old had to use the bathroom and started to cry. When mom tried to help the little girl to the bathroom the flight attendant blocked their path.
“She snapped at me, ‘No sit down,’” Deveraux said. Ultimately the little girl wet her seat and, amazingly, when Deveraux tried to clean it up the flight attendant yelled at her again. “And I said, ‘please give me a break. My daughter had an accident because you wouldn’t let me take her to the bathroom. After I clean it up I will sit down.’ She turned around and reported it to the pilot,” Deveraux continues.
But the story doesn’t even end there. After the stunning refusal of restroom facilities, the public shaming of forcing a toddler to urinate in her seat, the pilot reportedly returned the plane to the gate because there was a “non-compliant passenger” on board.
An off-duty pilot convinced the crew to let the family stay on the plane but Deveraux, outraged, wrote a letter to JetBlue demanding an apology.
“It wasn’t about bad customer service at that point, it was about bad human decency. My daughter was sitting in a pool of urine and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Deveraux said. “And as a mom it just broke my heart.”
JetBlue eventually released a statement saying they will reach out directly to Deveraux. The airline also replied to a tweet asking about the incident seen in this image posted by Yahoo:
Interestingly, I can’t find JetBlue’s tweet in their Twitter feed anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if the company is attempting to remove all evidence of such deplorable customer service from their social media footprint. Regardless, JetBlue’s response is ridiculous, not only from a customer service standpoint — people, especially little kids, have to pee, it happens — but several Yahoo commenters point out that they’ve been in similar situations and were allowed to use the restroom. One of which said, “This situation was not all that uncommon (a child or pregnant woman having to use the restroom.) Even at Newark Airport which gets a bad rap for so many reasons, the flight attendants were courteous and they would call the Captain to inform him/her of the issue. The Captain would request a 2 minute hold or ground stop from the Ground Control to allow the passenger time to use the restroom before moving the aircraft again without causing any real delay in the ‘take off’ line.”
Of the more than 4,000 comments on Yahoo, most are in ardent support of the child although I did find one parent who claims their teen wears pull-ups on long flights:
“My 5 and 8 year old are in diapers on long trips. The mother wasn’t thinking when she decided to take her kid on a long flight that might be delayed. My 13 year old will even ask for a pullup on long international flights.” — Gerald
“After a two hour delay, which was already in progress, people will need a comfort break. Notice I said people. All people. Small, large, old, young, pregnant or ill. Had I been the pilot I would have returned the plane to the terminal to release the passengers for a comfort break. That may have delayed the flight from taking off, but let the airline representatives and the airport management hash it out.” – GeorgeK
Now that’s more like it! Flying has become completely and totally ridiculous; an exercise in maintaining your sanity in the face of complete and utter discomfort. In summary, I think I’ll let one anonymous Yahoo commenter have the last, and best, word:
“Well, my 92 year old Father would sure have made them wish they’d let him go to the bathroom when he said, “I have to go NOW!” He had the kind of accidents on some occasions that is the stuff of nightmares! But then, he could have serious “digestive issues” with little warning, just about enough time to get to the bathroom. But then, those oxygen masks might come in handy for all the passengers.”
Image source: Flickr.com