Monday, February 18, 2013

Airline Etiquette Lesson #1: Don't Slap Toddlers and Call Them Racist Names

Yes, we know, sometimes crying toddlers or babies on planes can be annoying.

But what can you do? Parents generally don't bring their squalling offspring onto planes for the express purpose of bothering everybody else on the plane.
Joe Rickey Hundley looking unhappy in
his mug shot after allegedly slapping a
two year old on a plane.
Hell, air travel has gotten so bad and irritating lately that I want to cry on planes, too. But I try to restrain myself.

Too bad Joe Rickey Hundley, 60,  didn't restrain himself. It's been all over the news the past couple of days. A two year old kid started crying as their plane started descending toward an Atlanta airport. Altitude changes really bother some youngsters, and this kid started crying.

His mother tried to quiet him down, but had little success. There's not much you can do about changes in altitude when the pilot is trying to land the plane.

But Hundley was undeterred. According to prosecutors and media reports, he called the kid a terrible racial epithet and slapped the kid across the face.

Yeah, sure. That'll make a kid stop crying. Frighten the bejeezus out of him and hurt him. Needless to say, the kid cried even louder after the alleged assault.

At least one other passenger  intervened so that Hundley was blocked from causing any more harm. According to police documents, that passenger colloborated what the kid's mother said.

Hundley said he asked that the mother quiet the kid but did not hit him. Other passengers disagree.

In his defense, Hundley said he was traveling to Atlanta to visit a hospitalized relative and was upset about the situation, but I don't know if that's quite enough of a defense for hitting a kid who had nothing to do with the relative's hospitalization.

Hundley's lawyer also says that we should let the case develop. So, if there's updates or mitigating factors, we'll pass them along.

Hundley hasn't been found guilty or innocent yet, but there's already fallout. He lost his job, apparently. His now former employer, AGC Aerospace Defense, put a note on the front page of their Web site, noting Huntley is now a former employee and that they don't condone such behavior.

The etiquette lesson here is: If you're irritated by a crying kid on your next flight, suck it up. Because it's even more irritating to face criminal charges, lose your job, and be deemed by the whole world as the biggest jerk on the planet.

So, now that Hundley's alleged misdeeds are all over the Internet, and he apparently needs to look for a new job, are you hiring?

Didn't think so.

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