Not Over Yet
The flight attendant walked fast as she made her way to the pilot’s cabin. Cindy thought she had won the encounter, but she knew that things wouldn’t end there. She could sense that it was about to end badly.
Seconds later, the plane suddenly jerked. It had changed its course, but why? Cindy could feel the tears running down her cheeks. Why did the woman have to do this?
Cindy Myers woke up at the crack of dawn before eating breakfast and getting ready. She was excited for the day. She was going to see her kids again. She’d been out of state for business and would soon be on a flight back to them.
But Cindy was unaware that one woman on the plane would try her best to ruin her chances of seeing her kids
Cindy got a cab to the airport, even though she flew often for business she never got used to the routine or the flying. She got to the airport and gave the cab a nice tip before walking through the gates.
She made sure she had her mask on not only for her safety but so that she could get on the flight. They were protocol after all. But if only she knew that someone else wouldn’t be so self-aware.
Cindy hurried to check in, she didn’t want to be late. The process still confused her after dozens of flights. She managed to book her seat and start walking towards the line for boarding. As she stood in line she noticed a woman in front of her not wearing a mask.
At the time she didn’t think too much of it. Maybe she needed to take it off occasionally to breathe. She was sure she’d put a mask on when she boarded the plane. She was wrong.
The woman decided to turn around and start conversing with Cindy. Cindy was a little socially awkward but was always good at small talk. The young woman said, “What do you think of these masks?” pointing down at one she had in her hand.
Cindy had no idea that starting a conversation with this woman would be a grave mistake.
Stance On Masks
Cindy was a little surprised by the question but replied, “I think they are a little inconvenient but necessary right now.” The woman stared at her uncomfortably for what felt like a minute before answering with a snappy, “Well, I think they’re a violation of my rights.”
The woman then asked Cindy why she was flying. She replied, “To go back home and see my kids.” The woman’s expression didn’t change as she rudely turned back to look ahead in the line. But she wouldn’t be done affecting Cindy’s day. Things would get much worse.
The line shuffled forward and finally, Cindy gave her ticket to the assistant and managed to find her seat. But she noticed that the judgemental young woman from earlier was sitting right in front of her. She didn’t want anything to do with her.
But Cindy didn’t know that the woman would still do something that would affect her greatly.
“Please Wear Your Mask”
The preflight checks were all done in an orderly fashion before the plane took off. Cindy was never comfortable flying but it was a necessary thing. She passed the time reading a book she had brought with her. But then she heard a flight attendant just in front of her say something that made her ears prick up.
“Ms, could you please wear your mask?” The flight attendant was talking to the same young woman from earlier. But she wouldn’t comply so easily.
Cindy felt nervous as the young woman merely smirked at the flight attendant and told her that it was “unconstitutional” to make her wear a mask. She made up a sob story about how she was a mother trying to fly home to her kids. A story she stole straight from Cindy.
When that didn’t fly with the attendant she started doing something that Cindy could never have believed if she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes.
The woman started getting agitated and it was clear she looked angry and aggressive. The flight attendant still wouldn’t back down and told her it was her last chance to put on her mask. The woman told her that she’d have her job if she tried anything.
But just that phrase alone was enough to set things in motion that couldn’t be stopped.
The flight attendant turned around and walked towards the pilot’s cabin. The young woman thought that she had won the petty fight but Cindy knew more than her. She knew something bad was going to happen.
And it so happened that just a few moments later she felt the whole plane shift suddenly. It definitely was heading off course. But what was going on? Cindy felt tears in her eyes, what had this woman done?
For a few minutes, there was just silence from the staff. Rowdy passengers were starting to ask questions but it seemed that staff wasn’t allowed to say anything. Cindy knew now that she wouldn’t get to see her boys after this flight. Something was seriously wrong.
Then over the intercom, a gruff voice spoke, “This is your captain, we’re turning around”.
The Pilot further explained that due to a passenger breaking multiple policies on the plane they would have to return to the airport. The woman, knowing it was her fault, seemed hysterical. But it was Cindy that felt worse, she’d now have to find another way to get home.
But Cindy didn’t know that the woman would face justice once the plane landed.
When the plane landed back at the airport security immediately walked onto the plane to escort the young woman out. She would be charged with breaking multiple policies including the mandatory wearing of a mask, being hostile to staff, and getting intoxicated on the plane.
It wouldn’t let her see her kids fast, but Cindy took satisfaction in watching the woman that ruined her day get hauled off the plane. And things would soon be put back on track.
Getting To Her Kids
Cindy managed to find another flight leaving to her home state and she would end up only being delayed by 5 hours from her original schedule. She would get to see her kids and that’s all that mattered to her. She even laughed when she turned on the TV after getting home and seeing her experience with the plane being covered by the news. They said that the woman was banned for life from all flights on that airline. Cindy smiled with satisfaction as she hugged her children.
But this wasn’t the first time that a mask has caused such an uproar on a plane. Jodi Degyansky and her toddler were booted off a plane because the little boy wasn’t wearing a mask, but she got the last laugh.
Desperately trying to get her squirming toddler under control, she finally snapped. “Please give us some space,” she pleaded.
The intrusive flight attendant’s eyes widened, and then she stormed off without another word. But when Jodi saw the plane perform an abrupt u-turn, she knew she was in deep trouble. Suddenly, the flight attendant had returned. And this time, she’d brought reinforcements.
34-year-old single mom Jodi Degyansky had enjoyed finally being able to see her family after many months of isolation. Thankfully, the dreaded flight back from Naples to Florida with her two-year-old in tow had gone without a hitch.
The flight attendants had been very understanding and hadn’t even batted an eyelid when her son began to act up. But, unfortunately, the last leg of the trip from Florida to their home in Illinois didn’t go as smoothly.
A lot of passengers were flying that day. Jodi was always a nervous flyer and she was starting to feel on edge. She ushered her son, Hayes, to the window seat and adjusted her face mask.
Hayes began to squirm and kick his seat, and she could feel judgemental eyes staring at them. He crossed his small arms and began to breathe in and out quickly. It was the beginning stages of a tantrum, and there was no turning back.
While Hayes was showing all the telltale signs of having an epic meltdown on the plane, flight attendants kept approaching Jodi. At first, she assumed that they were going to ask her to keep her child quiet — a request that she was used to.
And, very occasionally, an attendant with a heart of gold would even try to help where she could. But this time, they did neither of those things. Instead, they kept asking her a question.
Mitigating The Meltdown
To Jodi’s relief, a passing flight attendant began to hand out the complimentary snacks that Jodi had promised that Hayes could have while they waited for the plane to take off.
“Look! Peanuts!” She trilled, shaking the tiny packet. She pulled his little mask down under his chin so that he could snack, trying to distract him from the meltdown she knew was coming. Little did she know that the flight attendant was watching her every move.
Finally, the plane began to move, slowly rolling away from the gate and down the runway. Jodi cheerfully exclaimed that it was time for Hayes to pack his snacks away and get ready for takeoff.
Of course, at that time, she had no idea that the trip was about to be cut short — and that everything that was happening would culminate in more humiliation and shock than Jodi had ever experienced in her life. All because of one flight attendant.
That Question Again
Another flight attendant approached her, gestured at her son, and pointedly asked Jodi the same question that she’d been bombarded with since they sat down.
Feeling a little overwhelmed and exasperated, she answered. “Yes, he will put his mask on before takeoff, he’s just distracted by the snacks.” But, it turned out that that wouldn’t be the real problem.
No Easy Task
Jodi had practiced with little Hayes for months at home before she allowed him out in public. She had read all the mommy blogs about how to get toddlers used to wearing a face mask.
She bought a colorful face covering and showed him what he looked like in a mirror, repeatedly cooing “…look how cool you look!” Little did she know, that prickly flight attendant was about to throw all her efforts right back in her face.
Losing Her Cool
When the flight attendant came by to ask the same question again, Jodi finally snapped. “Please give us some space,” she pleaded.
The flight attendant’s eyes widened as she looked at Hayes and back to Jodi, then she quietly stormed off. Suddenly, the plane came to a grinding halt, right there on the runway. What was going on?
What Was Going On?
Jodi craned her neck to see out the window. The plane began move again, turning until it had made a full u-turn back to the boarding gate and her heart sank.
But she wasn’t prepared when, just a few minutes later, the flight attendant returned — accompanied by the manager, the supervisor, the flight attendants, and the pilot.
The flight attendant sternly informed Jodi that they were being booted off the flight! “We are trying to get used to it,” Jodi stammered as she pulled Hayes’ mask back into its correct position, “…but he’s two!” She couldn’t believe it.
She had never been so shocked and humiliated in all her life. Little did the crew know, their actions were about to create a major PR issue.
But the airline staff weren’t having it. They ordered Jodi and Hayes to deplane, leaving the outraged mom stranded and scrabbling to find a new flight.
They said Jodi had been kicked off the flight because her son hadn’t been wearing his mask correctly, but Jodi knew that wasn’t the real reason. And it had all been recorded.
The offended flight attendant and the crew of Southwest Airlines had no idea that a passenger, incredulous at what she was witnessing, whipped out her phone and began to record how Jodi and her son were being treated.
It wasn’t long before the backlash began to pour in thick and fast. And then, the media caught wind of the story.
A Personal Vendetta?
“My toddler literally turned 2 two weeks ago… I know you have to draw the line but let’s be a little compassionate with everyone’s individual circumstances,” Jodi told News Press.
She was aware of CDC guidelines that state that any children aged two and up should wear a proper face mask if it’s difficult to social distance. But, what she couldn’t understand was why the rules weren’t consistent on all flights. “On the way back I was surprised the flight attendants were much stricter,” she said.
Flight Or Fight
“I just felt like I can’t believe it happened. I was left scrambling — how am I going to get home?’ said Jodi. “What if I didn’t have the resources to buy another $600 ticket?”
And Jodi also believes that asking the flight attendant for space was what triggered a personal vendetta against her. After all, how was her son supposed to eat with a mask on?
But the airline staff weren’t having it. They refused to listen. They ordered Jodi and Hayes to deplane, leaving the outraged mom and her young son stranded at the airport.
They said Jodi had been kicked off the flight because her son hadn’t been wearing his mask correctly, but Jodi knew that wasn’t the real reason. Luckily, the entire altercation had been recorded. Jodi began to formulate a plan.
Jodi and Hayes were now well and truly stranded. Jodi couldn’t believe the injustice of it all as she sat there, simmering. Her son had only just turned two, couldn’t the flight attendant have been a little more understanding?
Well, she was going to do something that would make her — and indeed the entire crew on that flight — regret what they had done. It was time for justice.
As it happens, Jodi had work experience as a brand manager for Porter Novelli, a large PR firm in New York, before she’d become Vice President.
Sland nobody dares set foot on
According to their profile, “Porter Novelli is a company best known for its position in the areas of technology, health and wellness, food and reputation management.” So, if anyone knew how devastating bad PR would be, it was Jodi. And she was more than equipped to engineer it.
Jodi put her plan into action. She was going to take Southwest Airlines down. She called in the media for interviews and told everyone she could about how she and her baby had been treated.
And the media lapped it up. She scheduled interview after interview, and soon the story took hold. Her revenge had every ingredient for a PR nightmare.