Virgin Blue has fired a male flight attendant after a mother, Natalie Williamson, complained that her 17-month-old son, Riley, was put in an overhead compartment on a flight from Fij to Sydney. There is more, however, to this story than the headline.
It appears that Williamson’s now estranged husband was playing peek-a-boo with Riley and the flight attendant was just playing along. He put the child in the locker and closed the hatch. Bad decision to be sure. However, there were mitigating circumstances and no intent to harm by the attendant.
The airline has given Williamson three free flights but she is still upset with the airline. Yet, she admits that this was just an effort to play with the child. She recounts “I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said ‘Get my son out of there now’ . . . I was devastated. I was absolutely devastated. I was crying. My husband was in shock. For days on end I was crying.”
I can understand for being upset and even angry at the bad judgment shown by the flight attendant. However, this was simply a foolish playful act of a few seconds. I cannot see how that translates into days of crying for the mother, which may have been more traumatic for the toddler than the game of peek-a-boo.
She says that he might have been in the compartment for as much as 10 seconds. She insists that Riley is now scared and traumatized by the incident and has had to see a variety of specialists over his up-to-ten-second ordeal. A therapist for a 17-month old baby?
Source: Herald Sun