A cringe-worthy, disturbing incident played out aboard a Delta Air Lines flight from New York's JFK Airport to Syracuse's Hancock Airport last week. A 19-year-old mom named Marissa Rundell who was traveling with her 8-month-old son says she felt bullied by a fellow passenger.
"This lady thought she was going to be rude to me and Mason now she has no way home today. Thank you to the lovely Delta flight attendant for not letting this women bully us. Karma is a b****," Rundell wrote on Facebook, alongside video of the tail-end of the incident.
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZLcg0ON1bxI" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen][/iframe]
Rundell told The Daily Mail that prior to the moment shown in the clip, the passenger -- who Spectrum News identified as Susan Peirez, program director for the NY State Council on the Arts -- "came to the back and slammed her bags down. She said, 'This is f****** ridiculous. It's bulls**t having to sit in the back of the plane.'" The mom says she asked the passenger not to speak with profanity around her son, but she "completely ignored her" and continued to complain. "I said again please watch your language she told me to shut the f*** up and shove it. That's when the flight attendant came over and asked what the problem was." And that's where the video begins.
The flight attendant named Tabitha tried to intervene, and Peirez complained about having to sit near a crying baby (although Rundell says her little boy wasn't fussing or crying at all) and also asked Tabitha for her name, responding to her with, "You may not have a job tomorrow." From that point on, the situation escalated even further with Tabitha telling another crew member that she wanted Peirez removed from the flight, as she was "screaming at the baby."
According to Rundell, Peirez was ushered off of the plane by the gate agent, though she continued to try to talk her way out of it. "Ten mins later she came back and got her things and was again swearing up a storm saying they will all regret kicking her off the plane," said Rundell.
The New York mom was ultimately pleased with how Delta and the flight attendants handled the situation and says Peirez even came back to apologize before the flight took off. Sounds like the least she could do after targeting a mom who was only trying to do her best as she traveled with her L.O.
Delta has yet to comment on the situation, but an employee for the NY State Council on the Arts said Peirez has been suspended for her behavior. "State employees are and must be held to the highest standard both professionally and personally. We were notified of this situation and have commenced an investigation. This employee has been removed from the office and placed on leave until further notice and until the inquiry is resolved," Director of Public Information Ronni Reich told Spectrum on Thursday.
Hopefully, knowing that the airline defended this mom will be heartening to other parents dealing with the stress of traveling with a little one. The last thing they need is an ugly encounter like this!