United Says ‘Sorry’ to Cerebral Palsy Passenger, But What’s in a Word?

D'Arcee Neal

*We know things happen. We realize mistakes get made and will always be made. But quite frankly, I for one am getting tired of hearing what has turned into nothing more than a cliche. The whole, “This does not reflect our…blah, blah, blah.”

What the hell does it reflect then?

D’Arcee Neal, an African American man with cerebral palsy who was in the news following his “humiliating” experience of having to crawl half the length of a United airlines plane he was on, because no staff was available to assist him, recently got an apology from the airline and $300 for his inconvenience.

In our earlier report, Neal reveals he was kept waiting in limbo for quite some time after landing in Washington, D. C. We also mentioned the irony in that he had just returned from a speaking engagement about services to the disabled community. At some point during his wait, Neal needed to go to the restroom, and decided he could no longer wait.

This is when the crawl happened.

United Airlines put out a statement yesterday, opening up about the incident. And among other things, it contained that cut ‘n paste cliche: This is not a reflection of our blah…blah…blah.

What a sorry excuse for being irresponsible. Don’t you realize that these incidents ARE the things that reflection is made of? This may not happen everyday. Many things don’t happen daily. But they are still a reflection. They are not separate.

And it is these events that people will remember. Not the gazillion times you did it right, because right is what’s expected. It’s the time you did it wrong, that will be remembered.

You ever notice all the folks that “say” one thing, while at the same time “do” another?

If you don’t call them on it, while they are “in the moment” they may not get it later.

It’s like they never heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Companies, not unlike the people who run them or work for them, want us to THINK they are a certain way. They want to TELL us who they are. Not SHOW us.

And therein lies the problem.

The United Airlines statement said:

“We made a mistake. When we realized our error -that Mr. Neal was onboard and needed the aisle chair — we arranged to have it brought back, but it arrived too late. We’ve apologized to him for that delay.”

“We hope that all of our customers understand that this situation doesn’t reflect the level of service we provide to customers with disabilities each day.”

Need I say more?

cerebral palsey man on united airlines


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