A Delta Air Lines representative called cops on an African-American customer who wanted to speak to a manager after she found her suitcase ripped.
The woman, identified only as Arlene, uploaded the video of the incident on Twitter and said she found her suitcase ripped after her flight from Kentucky to Massachusetts. She went to the airline’s office and asked for the manager because she wanted to inquire about her luggage.
However, the white representative, later identified as Teddra, refused her to give the manager’s details and ended up calling cops on the black woman.
When the woman arrived at the counter, she found the manager and tried to explain the issue but the manager received a call about a medical emergency and had to report immediately at an airport gate. That is when Arlene asked the representative at the counter to give the manger’s name and details so she could write her query.
However, the white woman remained adamant and refused to share any details with Arlene – even the manger’s name.
The black woman then asked Teddra to give the manager’s business card or his office where she could go and talk to him but she refused to share any details and said it was against the airlines’ policy to give names of any employees.
Arlene maintained her stance and said she wanted the manager’s name in order to complete her claim. As the argument continued, Teddra realized that she was being filmed. That is when she picked up the phone placed in front of her and reported the black woman to the cops.
“Hey, Frank, it's Teddra. Can I have the state police in baggage, please? I have a lady who is in my face recording me and won't leave the office,” she said on the phone.
That is when the video ended.
Arlene said she came out of the office when she heard Teddra call the police because she didn’t want to become a target as she felt the phone call was racially motivated and feared the police would act against her and not help her.
“I have never been so humiliated in my life. I was afraid when she called the state trooper, given all the unarmed police shooting in the world we live in,” she said.
Arlene said at first her complaints were not answered and later the airline forced her to remove the video. However, in the latest development, the woman said a corporate executive contacted her.
“[The executive] informed me she had spoken with customer service representative, Teddra, and that Delta does not believe the incident was racially motivated. I asked her why did Teddra Hegel call the police, she said she didn't know what to do - she should have called the manager as requested,” she wrote.
Arlene added, “As a gesture they offered to pay for my bag and give me a $300 credit to the airline, which I declined. I will continue to spread awareness, and it is my hope that this doesn't happen to anyone again.”
The incident went viral on social media and people used #BaggageClaimBecky to call out the airline representative and Delta Air Lines.
The woman’s fear of becoming a target was factually correct because people of color, especially African-Americans, become a target of police brutality on a daily bases where they are questioned for doing nothing harmless.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Tami Chappell