In a three-minute video that went viral, a concerned mother can be seen comforting her crying daughter after a distressing encounter with two armed officers and a Southwest Airlines representative. Here’s the full story.
The mother in question, identified as MacCarthy, was subjected to questioning and scrutiny due to what a Southwest Airlines employee deemed as “suspicious behavior.”
Trafficking Her Own Child
The anonymous staffer reportedly suspected MacCarthy of trafficking her own child, leading to a police report being filed.
The encounter unfolded when MacCarthy and her ten-year-old daughter, Moira, were the last to board the plane.
In an attempt to sit next to her daughter, MacCarthy politely asked other passengers to switch seats.
Attendants Were Concerned
However, this seemingly innocent request raised alarm bells for the attendant, who claimed that the mother-daughter duo did not speak to each other during the entire flight.
Angered by the implication of trafficking and racial assumptions about her mixed-race family, MacCarthy openly criticized both Southwest Airlines and the Denver Police Department.
She accused the airline of supporting a racist assumption and demanded an explanation for the traumatic experience she and her daughter endured during the flight.
The Police Report
The police report reveals that officers approached MacCarthy based on the suspicions raised by the Southwest employee.
However, MacCarthy explained that they were grieving and traveling to a family funeral.
Despite her explanation, the incident left MacCarthy emotionally distressed.
She told Newsweek, “To this day when Moira and I are out in public—and especially at airports or on planes—I’m hyper-aware that we might be judged and reported for any interaction we have with each other.”
She Was Disappointed
She expressed her deep disappointment in the way Southwest Airlines handled the situation and questioned the company’s values and commitment to treating customers with dignity and respect.
Following the incident, Southwest Airlines issued a statement expressing their disheartenment about the mother’s account and pledged to conduct an internal review.
The airline stated that its employees receive robust training on human trafficking, but it seems that in this instance, the training did not prevent the misunderstanding.
Policies Will Change
In response to the incident, advocates for social justice and equality have called for airlines and law enforcement agencies to reassess their policies and procedures regarding potential cases of trafficking.
She Plans to Take Legal Action
As for MacCarthy, she has decided to pursue legal action against Southwest Airlines, seeking accountability and redress for the emotional distress caused to her and her daughter.
She Felt Attacked
She said, “In our interactions with Southwest Airlines since the incident, and with the information revealed in the bodycam footage, I’ve felt attacked as a mother and frankly as a human being. Customers should know the true nature of the company they’re doing business with.”
Social Media Users Shared Their Views
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “She is looking for $ the easy way. As a mother, I would be grateful that they are trying to stop human trafficking.”
Another User wrote, “All this ignorant lawsuit is going to do is encourage law enforcement not to care if a biracial child might possibly be trafficked.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ruslan Lytvyn. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.