Traveling alone when you’re a child can be both scary and exciting. But, for two little boys flying alone on JetBlue back to the United States from the Dominican Republic in mid-August, the trip turned out to be a nightmare.
Andy Martinez Mercado, 5, was flying home to New York City from visiting relatives in Santiago, or so he thought. He ended up in Boston instead, 200 miles away.
When Andy’s mother, Maribel Martinez, went to pick up her son from John F. Kennedy Airport, JetBlue employees presented her with another boy, also 5, who was carrying her son’s passport.
Martinez told New York Daily News, “I thought he was kidnapped. I thought I would never see him again.” She continued to describe the panic she endured when she realized her son was missing. “I was freaking out. I didn’t know if he was alive. I still haven’t stopped crying.”
After three long hours of waiting nervously, the real Andy was located by the airline in Boston, from where he was put on the next flight back to JFK. Similarly, the other boy, who is unnamed, was sent back to Boston. Surprisingly, Andy was wearing a wristband with his name on it, and the JetBlue staff still managed to switch the boys.
For the trouble, JetBlue gave Martinez a $475 refund for the flight and $2,100 credit, but their actions were in vain. Martinez declared this would be the last time she and her family fly JetBlue, understandably. She hired a family attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, and has filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from JetBlue, Independent reported.
Martinez’ attorney said, “Any parent can understand the terrifying fear a mother goes through knowing that her child is missing. This never should have happened and the JetBlue employees should be ashamed of themselves.”
Banner photo credit: Twitter, @Report24CA