Less than two months after United Airlines reached a settlement with a mistreated passenger, it seems like there's more bad news for the commercial airliner. The company on Tuesday issued an apology after a video allegedly showing a United employee pushing an elderly passenger to the ground surfaced.
According to the passenger involved, a Houston lawyer named Ronald Tigner, a Houston airport-based United employee pushed Tigner to the ground, leaving him motionless. The alleged incident occurred in 2015, and last week Tigner filed a lawsuit suing United and two employees for more than $1 million, claiming that not only was he pushed, but also that no United employees came to help.
A statement from United said that the employee shown in the video was no longer with the company, saying that executives were "disturbed by the completely unacceptable behavior shown in a video of a customer and a former United employee."
"The actions shown here do not reflect our core values or our commitment to treat all of our customers with respect and dignity," United's statement read, according to The Washington Post. "We are reviewing all circumstances surrounding this incident and reaching out to our customer through his attorney to profusely apologize for what occurred and to make this right."
Attorney William Hoke, who represents Tigner, told a local Houston news station the the video of a United employee pushing the 71-year-old Houston man depicted "one of the most inhumane things I've ever seen in my life."
According to Hoke, United employee Alejandro Anastasia allegedly pushed Tigner after Tigner asked for a new boarding pass. "Anastasia was looking at Mr. Tigner and started smiling and said, 'Can't you see we're busy?' and there's no one in the vicinity of these two employees," Hoke told KPRC. "And he tells Anastasia to wipe that smile off his face. That's when Anastasia says, 'I'll kick your [expletives]' and shoves Tigner to the ground." Anastasia was reportedly charged with felony injury to an elderly individual, required to pay a fine, write an apology letter, and attend anger management classes.
When asked if Tigner was knocked unconscious by the incident, Hoke said, "He was. He lied there. He lies there lifeless for minutes. Not one employee comes to check on him." According to a 911 call obtained by KPRC, a United employee said at the time that he man had fallen down. When asked if the employee knew the cause, the employee said no. "It's astonishing," Hoke said. "It's outrageous."
United's apology comes two months after a video showing a man being dragged off an overbooked United flight went viral. David Dao, the 69-year-old Kentucky physician who was forcibly removed, suffered a broken nose and a concussion and also lost two front teeth, according to his lawyers. According to news reports, Dao and the airliner reached an "amicable" settlement for an undisclosed amount.