The man who defended a crying mother after an American Airlines flight attendant grabbed her baby’s stroller spoke out about the incident in a new interview.
“A baby almost got hurt,” Tony Fierro told WFAA-TV on Saturday, April 22. “That’s what just fired me up, so that was it. I don’t want to make a big deal about it.”
As previously reported, the airline suspended the male flight attendant who allegedly grabbed an unidentified female passenger’s stroller aboard a flight from San Francisco International Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Friday, April 21. A video of the aftermath of the incident showed the flight attendant arguing with passengers, including Fierro, who told the man, “Hey bud, you do that to me, and I’ll knock you flat.”
The video, which has since been viewed more than 6 million times, was posted on Facebook by fellow passenger Surain Adyanthaya. “OMG! AA Flight attendant violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby,” she captioned the clip. “Then he tried to fight a passenger who stood up for her.”
American Airlines said in a statement on Friday night that it was investigating the incident, saying that the company was “disappointed” in the flight attendant’s actions, and adding that “what we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers.”
However, Bob Ross, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, appeared to defend the American Airlines employee in a statement released to WFAA-TV. “The goal of our 26,000 members is to make every flight safe and secure for our passengers and crew,” he said. “All passengers deserve to be treated with respect. We also must assure that our Flight Attendants are treated respectfully and safely on board.”
“There are really two stories here related to this incident aboard a San Francisco to Dallas flight,” Ross continued. “One, we don’t know all of the facts related to a passenger who became distraught while boarding a plane and therefore neither the company nor the public should rush to judgment. Second, it appears another passenger may have threatened a Flight Attendant with violence, which is a violation of federal law and no small matter. Air rage has become a serious issue on our flights.”
The incident comes less than two weeks after United Airlines made headlines when security guards forcibly removed a passenger from an overbooked flight. The video of the incident sparked public outrage and went viral.