Photo Credit: Rob Carr
Delta Flight Attendant Wrongly Accuses Latino Traveler Of Human Trafficking His Daughter
When Peter Espinosa boarded a Delta airline flight from Minneapolis to Fort Worth with his daughter, he thought it would be just like the thousands of other flights he’d taken with the Atlanta-based airline. Espinosa, a member of the Delta Million Mile club, was taking his daughter, Rachel, to visit with family for Father’s Day.
Instead, he said, the flight attendant not only accused him of trafficking his own daughter, but called the police to have him arrested when the flight landed in Texas.
Now, he wants answers.
Paddle Your Own Kanoo has the details of this harrowing story. The crux of the issue lies with Fragile X Syndrome, from which Rachel Espinosa suffers. Fragile X Syndrome, a form of autism, causes extreme emotional and social anxiety, and is often characterized by the sufferer’s inability to make eye contact.
According to Espinosa, the Delta flight attendant repeatedly badgered his daughter with questions, which only further exacerbated her symptoms. Apparently, this prompted the flight attendant to deduce that Espinosa was trafficking his daughter, so he called the police and had him arrested upon landing.
Espinosa went on to detail his harrowing experience on LinkedIn, where he wrote an open letter to Delta CEO Ed Bastian, accusing the airline of racially profiling its customers and ignoring the needs of differently abled passengers.
“You can choose to continue to disregard the needs of special needs fliers,” he wrote in the letter. “And you can continue to racially profile your customers. But at least I am free to choose another airline for my family and I to use when we travel. You will be receiving my Delta Platinum American Express card, my Delta Sky Club membership card and my Delta Diamond Elite Skymiles card back from me this coming week.”
In response, Delta pointed to their success with training their employees on recognizing the signs of human trafficking, and pointing out that they’ve donated millions of dollars to charities that combat human trafficking. However, they also seemed to tacitly acknowledge that Mr. Espinosa had been mistreated, claiming they reached out to the customer to address this “difficult situation.”
“There’s nothing more important than keeping our customers safe, and that includes creating a safe, comfortable environment for all customers – especially those with disabilities,” they said through a spokesperson. “While Delta people remain highly engaged in the ongoing fight against human trafficking, we remain committed to ensuring our customers with disabilities feel supported.”