Vet Also Claims United Staffers Asked if He Was ‘Retarded’
A disabled veteran is claiming that employees for United Airlines physically abused his service dog and then verbally abused him, according to a story in ‘The Daily Mail.’
Veteran Jim Stanek says the incident started on July 16th at Washington Dulles Airport at the United Airlines counter.
‘Some United Airlines employees were moving by and one of them was startled, turned, and kicked my service dog,” Stanek says in the video. “Didn’t kick her hard, but … they kicked her.’
Stanek said his dog ‘Sarge’ was kicked a second time by another United worker.
‘I was so angry and so confused about why she would be kicked,’ he says in the footage. ‘Sarge doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body, she’s a mush.’
Stanek says has post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as traumatic brain injury (TBI) following three tours in Iraq.
When his flight was delayed Stanek says he repeatedly asked if someone would help him after hearing about the delays but was brushed aside. ‘I was in a lot of pain, physically mentally and emotionally at that point.
‘I couldn’t get any help and that was the most disconcerting thing about it.’
At one point, having sought assistance from a customer service adviser with reading a booking confirmation email Stanek was asked: ‘Are you retarded?’
Stanek admits to yelling and cursing at that point as he was very upset by the ordeal.
‘I completely lost all composure at that point,’ he says. ‘I started yelling, I used four letter words which I really try hard not to do.
‘I was done and there was nobody helping me. I was very distraught, very disgruntled.’
Reports say U.S. Department of Transportation has opened an investigation into the incident, with the cooperation of the airline.
Airnation.net contacted United Airlines to get their side of the story and spokeswoman Mary Ryan gave us a brief statement:
“We are reaching out to the customer directly to discuss the events that he described.”
UPDATE – July 24, 2012:
United spokesperson Mary Ryan has released the following statement regarding the status of the above incident:
“We have spoken with Mr. Stanek and several United employees about the delays Mr. Stanek experienced and the assertions about the actions of our employees,” Mary Ryan, spokesperson for United Airlines told Reduced Mobility Rights on Tuesday.
“We are not yet able to confirm whether all of the individuals he encountered were in fact employees of United, but we take Mr. Stanek’s assertions seriously and continue our review and our discussions with him.”