Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume XXXVIII: The Tired of Traveling Travails Edition

TRAVEL -- It's one of the more difficult parts of the holiday season that parents raising children with special needs, chronic illness, or disability face.  Driving long distances can definitely be challenging, but flying takes that stress to a whole new level.  Lugging added medical supplies, equipment, items to pacify or calm a child, and managing the child's issues while crammed onto an airplane is no picnic.

In the past, we have shared the disgust and frustration that disabled children have had troubles with the TSA.  (See our post from February 22, 2013.)  I suppose it should come as little surprise that a bureaucracy cares little about customer service and thinking outside the box.  However, this week's "winner" definitely has a more vested interest in keeping flyers happy.

It seems a certain flight attendant was not only completely lacking in common sense and problem-solving skills, she was also completely devoid of compassion.

 Are you SERIOUS?!

The mother shares the story of trying to fly with her 3-year-old child with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy via her Tumblr account...
Pictures of this precious family are embedded in the ABC News article on this travel nightmare.  Their Ivy is a gorgeous little girl who is quite visibly disabled.  In other words, one look at this little darling would make it obvious to the average person that she has some challenges.

What I find so especially disheartening is the fact that other flight attendants found a provision in their handbook that could accommodate this child on her mother's lap.  Yet, this particular attendant's cold rigidity stood in the way of that adaptation.

Pray for this flight attendant!  Pray that God would soften her heart and open her eyes.  After all, she is just one emergency room visit away from having a family like the one she mistreated.

It is enough of a challenge to have your little one survive a stroke.  Elit Kirschenbaum should be applauded for having the courage to travel with her daughter Ivy in the first place.  Yet, as cumbersome as such travel is, this mother, this family surely didn't need the added stress and humiliation they encountered on their flight home.  We MUST continue to shine a light on these situations so that these troubles with transportation can finally be remedied.  This airline, and any other who would treat a family this way, had better step up their customer service to a much higher level, and train their flight attendants more thoroughly on how to accommodate special needs travelers.

~ Barb Dittrich

For further reading:  CNN anchor defends family with special needs child during flight dispute

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