A mother has taken to social media to call out a Southwest Airlines flight attendant who she claims told her to glue a mask to her toddler’s face.
Ali Cleek, a network marketer for CBD oil from Virginia Beach, posted to Instagram about her ordeal in August.
The mother of two was flying from Florida to Virginia on a Southwest Airlines flight which she claimed was one-and-a-half hours late and had no air conditioning, when her two-year-old daughter began to cry.
“Drew is a thumb sucker and her only way she biologically knows how to soothe herself is by sucking her thumb, which is damn near impossible with a mask,” she said.
“Well, two flight attendants stood over me watching as we held her down and tried to get her to wear it.”
Cleek said both she and her daughter were both crying when a flight attendant gave her a distressing ultimatum: she could either cut a hole in the mask or glue it to her daughter’s face.
Cleek said the flight attendant’s sarcastic remark was “absolutely ridiculous and infuriating”.
“I can’t believe this happened to us… You hear about it but never expect it to happen to you,” she said.
The mother of two told Fox News that she didn’t want to come across as anti-mask, and that she was following the federal mask mandate as best she could.
“I just know that, regardless if it was sarcasm or not, I was embarrassed and trying to follow the mandate as much as I could,” Cleek said.
“My daughter is two. We were doing everything we could to comply.”
View this post on Instagram
According to Fox News, Cleek was contacted by Southwest’s customer service team and received an apology.
“They said they would essentially talk to the flight crew,” she said.
“I know I never want another parent to be in tears on an aeroplane because their two-year-old won’t wear a mask. I really don’t want parents to feel like they have to hold down their child to put on a mask.
“I also don’t want to feel like I can’t travel with my kids by plane.”
Southwest Airlines confirmed it reached out to the family to “offer apologies for any frustration they experienced during the flight”.
“We’ve shared the family’s concern with our flight attendant leadership team, though we don’t have any reports from the flight to confirm the comment,” the airline said in a statement.
“Southwest employees strive each day to diffuse stressful situations during this unusual time in our history, as we work to communicate the need to enforce a federal mandate on face masks with care and sensitivity.”
Featured image source: iStock/No-Mad