An American Airlines flight attendant allegedly called the police, and had a two-year-old boy, his mother and his grandmother removed from a flight on Monday because the toddler would not keep a face mask on while he was having an asthma attack.
The mother, Amanda Pendarvis, said in a Facebook post that she was doing her best to comply with the airline’s COVID rules, but her son Waylon started “literally hyperventilating” when she tried to cover his mouth and nose up with the face covering. She said she told the unsympathetic flight attendant “Carl” that Waylon had been tested for COVID only the day before and that the results were negative. Pendarvis said that the flight attendant told the pilot that they had a “non-compliant passenger,” and had the family thrown off the plane.
Pendarvis described the ordeal on American Airlines Flight 1284 as the “most humiliating/traumatizing experience,” because of the actions of Carl, the “truly evil, power tripping” flight attendant.
“We complied, I tried my best, and your passive aggressive, “I just want you to have a fun plane ride” with the most disingenuous smile will forever be one of the most disappointing human interactions I have ever had,” the mother wrote on Facebook.
She said the trio were heading to Colorado Springs for a couple of days to visit family.
“On the flight from OKC to Dallas, our flight attendant truly could not have been more kind or friendly,” she wrote. “He was SO sweet to Waylon, and fully empathized with how difficult traveling with a toddler can be. Nobody once acknowledged that Way was not wearing a mask.”
That empathy turned to heartlessness once the family boarded their flight from Dallas to Colorado Springs, according to Pendarvis. She said that because the flight was delayed for 40 minutes, she let her toddler move between her seat, and her mother’s seat on the other side of the row, knowing that he would be confined to his seat for the hour and a half flight.
As the plane began lining up for take-off, she said Carl approached her to say, “ma’am please contain your child, and pull up your mask.”
I calmly replied, “sorry I’m trying to spare these other passengers of inevitable screaming, and since we haven’t taken off yet, I was trying to let him move around a bit before I have to put him in his seat.”
Pendarvis explained that she had to keep pulling her own mask up because it kept sliding down.
“I also would pull on and off to eat crackers with Way (I feel CRAZY even having to explain these tiny “duh” details,” she wrote on Facebook, adding: “I have gotten so many messages & questions on Instragram that I want to put every detail I can on this post.”
She said Carl “had ZERO understanding, zero empathy; blatant judgment. I am just going to assume Carl doesn’t have children, because I can’t imagine another parent would talk down to a mother traveling with a toddler like that. ANYWAY. I get Waylon into his seat like he asked, and Carl comes back over.”
Pendarvis said at this point, Carl insisted that the asthmatic toddler wear a mask, which she predicted would not work out well for anyone on the plane.
Carl: “Ms. Pendarvis (guess he did his research?), how old is your son?”
Amanda: “He is two.” (he turned 2 in July)
Carl: “Okay, well I will require that your son wear a mask through the remainder of this flight.”
Amanda: “Okay, well he’s never worn one before and I can assure you he is going to fight it and scream, and I don’t know if the other passengers wants to sit through that…but okay, I will try my best.”
He says nothing.
Unfortunately, the situation was became increasingly frustrating and mortifying for the young mother, so her mother beckoned a more sympathetic flight attendant to assist them.
I’m trying to keep a mask on a 2 year old. He’s fighting it, crying, screaming. Another flight attendant passes my mom, she is a young woman and very friendly and understanding. My mom shows the woman his negative Covid test we got for him YESTERDAY, and told her he has asthma and asked if she would relay that to Carl…just in case we don’t have any luck getting the mask to stay on him.
She said, “Absolutely…by the way, who said that to you? Was it HIM? (looks over at Carl in disgust like she has seen this behavior before)” She brought Carl the negative Covid papers, and came back and said, “I showed him, but..I’m so sorry. Just keep feeding him and try your best, but I GET IT.”
Pendarvis explained that she struggled to keep masks on her son, but he “was tired and fidgety” and “it escalated to the point he was covered in sweat, hysterical, and kept screaming “nooo, mama, NO!!!!!” and he ripped a total of 3 different masks off of his face.”
She added, “At this point I’m literally just holding a broken mask over his face because I literally don’t know what else to do. He now is having difficulty breathing.”
Upsetting footage posted onto Pendarvis’ Facebook show how traumatizing the situation was for both mother and son.
She said that after Carl relayed the situation to the pilot, the pilot got on the intercom to tell passengers, “well the hold up is now about a mask issue with a passenger and that the plane will be held until that is under control.”
Pendarvis said she felt “publicly shamed by the flight staff” and made to feel responsible for people having a delay getting to their next plane/destination.
While it is ridiculous to expect any toddler that young to go along with a mask mandate, Pendarvis said her son had a condition that aggravated the situation.
“Waylon had his first asthma attack 2 months ago, but we have had a breathing machine in our home for him since he was around 5 mounts since his breathing has always been a concern when he gets sick,” she explained.
The toddler ended up in Children’s hospital, where he was prescribed a daily preventive inhaler as well an emergency inhaler, which she said she takes with them everywhere.
Pendarvis said she had to administer his emergency inhaler on the plane because he had gotten so worked up after being forced to wear the suffocating masks. Then she said the announcement that they were getting booted off the plane came over the intercom, and several passengers expressed sympathy with her over what was happening.
It was AT THE POINT WE WERE GIVING MY CHILD A BREATHING TREATMENT that they get on the intercom and “okay, we are dealing with a non-compliant passenger and will be updating the plane shortly” (second time we get shamed on the intercom. Fantastic) It is at this point, we are officially asked to grab our bags and are escorted off the plane.
A man behind us spoke up throughout all of this to Carl, telling him how INSANE and unacceptable his behavior was. We had other passengers mouth “I am SO sorry” and I “I feel so sorry for you guys” It was so awkward. One gentlemen, however, told Carl “I stand behind you” (what a gem, huh?)
The plane was dead quiet with all eyes on us as we grabbed our bags with a hysterical child. It was absolutely mortifying.
Pendarvis said she was escorted off the plane back into the airport where she was met by three police officers who clearly expected to see something more dangerous than a two year old and his mother, both puffy-faced from crying, and the grandmother.
She said she and her mom were “fully masked, totally mortified and shocked, and shook up about what just took place,” and the police were “embarrassed they were even there.”
My mom said (sarcastically…but I mean, sorry we are pretty pissed at this point?!) “oh, look we even get a police escort!” They waved off and left (because, duh, we are of ZERO threat)
A friend of the mother shared the story on twitter, tagging American Airlines, and expressing hope that Carl would be fired.
Hello, maybe we get flight attendant fired from @AmericanAir today?
My sweet friend’s 2 year old son was having an asthma attack and wouldn’t keep mask on (because he couldn’t breathe) – and they turned plane around and had police waiting to escort them off. A 2 year old. pic.twitter.com/Ks2VbnNASW
— Tiger Lily (@yogarespecter) September 14, 2021
Pendarvis said that an American Airlines official named Simone Torquato seemed shocked after she tearfully explained what had happened.
She said when she saw us she thought, “there’s no way all of us were called about these two women and this TWO YEAR OLD” She also said ultimately, it came down to the decision of the flight attendant and the pilot and there’s nothing they could do. She gave us her card, and told us to contact her when we are sorting through what we all went through. The other nice gentlemen (Ereal Lewis, Jr.) found us a flight that was boarding 10 minutes from when we got off the original plane, and they gave the new crew an update of what just happened before we arrived to the new gate. We finally made it to Colorado Springs, and Way could not have been better behaved on that flight (and no, we did not try to force a mask on him this time around).
The mother had a pointed message for Carl.
Carl, I absolutely hope this gets to you. I want you to know I am an optimistic, see-the-best-and-hope-the-best-in-the-human-race kind of person. I don’t like playing the victim, and I kept trying to convince myself you were eventually going to show SOME decency to, at the LEAST, my beautiful little boy.
You showed me, my son and my mother ZERO humanity as soon as you opened your mouth to speak to us. We complied, I tried my best, and your passive aggressive, “I just want you to have a fun plane ride” with the most disingenuous smile will forever be one of the most disappointing human interreactions I have ever had.
This was not about you protecting passengers or having human beings and their HEALTH in mind. If that was the case, you would have certainly—WITHOUT QUESTION—realized that a TWO-YEAR-OLD who is sweating, hysterical, has zero concept of why his mother is forcing a mask on his face, has a NEGATIVE Covid test, and is having asthmatic complications due to the absolute hysteria is NOT a health threat to other passengers.
However, y o u DID put my son’s health at risk. Naturally, I did break down while you were talking to me, and I said to you through tears while holding my crying baby, “why are you being SO mean to me?” you didn’t answer me. You couldn’t answer that question honestly, because if you allowed yourself to dig, the only honest answer you would be able to land on was you were on some sick power-trip and for whatever reason, wanted to make my family and me an example of how much “power” you have. I hope you sleep well at night. I’m sure the other passengers appreciated being 2 hours late due to your heroic attempt of saving the world from our 2 year old 🙄
American Airlines, THIS is what you have representing you.
Pendarvis added: “I don’t know why, but I feel the need to add this disclaimer: this is NOT a political issue that took place today, it’s a human issue.”
American Airlines responded to “Tiger Lily’s” tweet, saying they had tried to contact Pendarvis for more information.
That’s not enough for me. I’m sure the Biden administration is pleased with your abuse of power but this family will see justice.
— Tiger Lily (@yogarespecter) September 14, 2021
“That’s not enough for me,” Tiger Lily responded, adding, “I’m sure the Biden administration is pleased with your abuse of power but this family will see justice.”
American Greatness reached out to Pendarvis for additional comment, but did not hear back.