February 18th, 2013
11:39 PM ET

Mom: I want the worst punishment for him

The woman who says her toddler was slapped by a passenger on a plane describes the incident to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Anna

    I absolutely support the idea of a separate child-friendly zone, a booth, a separate flight or something where such situation would not occur. Hitting a crying child is bad, it is not an action befitting anybody, let alone a man. Having a crying and kicking baby sitting a few rows away from you is not pleasant either, I don't think people who say they don't mind tolerating shrieks across the isle are honest. I do not support people who don't restrain their kids, but what can you do if the child is in pain? It is going to be a no-win situation till both – parents with small children and other passengers are given the choice of traveling together or separately. Separately in some cases is better.

    February 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  2. Fallon

    I agree 100% that this man should get the fullest punishment he could get. As a mom that flies with her children (usually Southwest Airlines), I really wish there were family friendly sections, so I wasnt forced to sit in between two old men with my screaming 9 month old. It would make it easier for all involved to make the back sections for people traveling with kids.

    February 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  3. Chad

    We travel frequently with our one and three year old daughters. What has always worked for us, is to make sure you always bring "new toys" along for the trip. Nothing fancy, (we just go to the Dollar Store and buy some cheap toys). Our kids will play with each toy for about fifteen minutes per toy. Then it's onto the next one. In addition, we always have them drink a bottle as we are taking off and when we start our final decent. The sucking motion helps keep their ears inplugged, which in most cases is why little ones cry. Furthermore, we also keep little suckers for them to suck on periodically. To me, the majority of the time the parent are to blame for lack of "pre-flight" planning. Knock on wood; our kids have never had a flight where they screamed the entire time.

    February 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  4. JTren

    I think there is probably much more to the story than what has been published. While I would never justify hitting a child, I can relate to the absolute torture of being on a plane with children and babies who are screaming. I certainly hope the mother was doing something to ease the discomfort of this child- I fly quite often and find this is rarely the case. Parents just bounce their babies when they are crying. Come on, get a clue. Give a bottle, take them to the restroom etc. An airplane is not the place to let them "cry it out".

    February 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  5. M. McKenna

    Nothing, absolutely NOTHING would justify this man's crime. I do hope that there is a substantial punishment for him. No one has to LIKE the fact that the poor child was upset but what kind of a world do we live in that an innocent child is battered by a anyone, let alone a stranger because of the ADULT'S inability to control HIS temper, HIS feelings, HIS anger/rage etc. This is NEVER about the child. I understand that it can awful to listen to a screaming child on a plane…. when I have I went over and tried to diffuse the situation – I carry stickers for kids and sometimes, a kind person might be able to lighten the load of the child by surprising the child with kindness. Even if that is not what most people do, NEVER it is okay to harm a child because he/she is a child and cries as children sometimes do. What if the child had a terrible ear ache that the parents didn't know he/she had yet and the screaming is because they have pain they can't tell the parents about? Children are not robots. What a terrible time we live in when people have no compassion for a child until it's their own child, grandchild, or close friends' child etc. Someone should send this poor, ignorant and unfeeling man to an orphanage in Romania or Africa or India and make him stay there for one year…. he will LEARN compassion, he will find out what he needs to know in order to change his attitude and behaviour.

    February 23, 2013 at 2:14 am |
  6. Amy

    There is no excuse for this man's behavior. I believe anyone who commits any act of violence on an airplane should be added to the no-fly list. That being said, I flew quite often with my child from 4 months old until she was 4 years old. There are simple ways to ease a child's discomfort and parents need to educate themselves on how to fly with infants and toddlers. The best way is to not allow them to nap or eat before the flight. A bottle or sippy cup forces the child to suck which reduces the pressure in the ears on take off and landing and letting them sleep the rest of the flight.

    February 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • M. McKenna

      This is a great idea: I would LOVE to see you write a simple book or booklet that would be able to TEACH parents how to fly with toddlers and babies. If people don't know how – then put a resource out there so they can be educated. Pitch it to the airlines – maybe they will provide a link on their websites and direct people to your book before they fly…. It wouldn't take a lot to write it…….

      February 23, 2013 at 2:18 am |
    • Jane D.

      Those things are helpful, but it's unrealistic to think they will keep a young child quiet for an entire flight. Even as an adult, I don't always get relief from swallowing, chewing gum or yawning. Pressure changes hurt. Combine that with the long and restrictive environment of a plane, and you pretty much have to accept that there will be some protests. They're children. They don't have the maturity, self-control or awareness of social expectations that adults do. That's adult behavior, which was apparently lacking in this man...

      February 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  7. Sara

    We are not talking about a "screaming out-of-control brat" here. This was a small child who had ear pressure pain from the flight. And anyone who has experienced that pain, knows how severe it is. What we are talking about is an old drunken racist, who should've never even been allowed on this plane. He should consider himself lucky that it wasn't my child he hit.

    February 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  8. Diana Thomas

    There is no excuse for this man's behavior. Crying babies and toddlers are a fact of life. If you've never had a kid, you just don't get it and you aren't qualified to comment. When a little kid or infant cries on a plane it's usually a result of physical pain, confusion or discomfort due to the air pressure. Adults should try to be helpful to parents of small children, not hostile or mean. They aren't brats, they don't know any better. Babies and toddlers can't otherwise express themselves, they aren't being bad, they are just trying to get a point across: it hurts or I feel bad or I'm tired, or something to that effect.

    This guy should experience the consequences of his actions for a long time to come. Whoever overserved him should also feel some consequences here. Sounds like the flight attendants tried to help, but if it was me, I would have let the flight attendants know from the start that this guy was an a-hole. Mom was trying to avoid him. His behavior toward Mom and her little one was disgusting. I would have filed criminal charges – assault and battery for the unlawful touching when he leaned over onto her, in additon to his striking her child.

    February 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Jane D.


      February 25, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  9. Shelia

    I find it hard to believe that no one has mentioned that infants who cry on an airplane probably are having pain in their inner ear! This is the reason for the crying or screaming! It is not that the parent isn't CONTROLLING the child.

    February 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  10. Laurena

    While my heart goes out to the mother and her child in this case, there simply is no way for punishment to heal her ordeal or to protect her son from racist comments.
    Is there a "no-fly" list for passengers who behave this way towards mother's and their children travelling on commercial flights? Not one single airline should ever let him travel again after raging against this lady and her child. There is no way he would have spoken this way to a father travelling with his son.
    Little babies and toddlers who fly on their parent's laps do not have a sense of being secure- their little ears are fragile and need to scream to balance the air pressure in their ears.
    One of my children has taught me to wait until the screaming phase ends before taking to the air again with baby. Thankfully, the very few times we tried to fly with this little one, the people all around us were exceptionally kind and enjoyed being helpful to us. I simply will not be attending functions with this little one until he is older, especially after this awful story. The air-line can not keep us safe from the person beside us on a flight. It's impossible.

    February 21, 2013 at 6:20 am |
  11. Troy

    Civil law suit? Bit overkill.
    What exactly is the etiquette again for reacting to Mother's ignoring their screaming misbehaving kids on long flights?

    February 21, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Ashley

      I think it's pretty clear that she didn't ignore her upset child. Babies do not have the ability to pop their ears when cabin pressure increases so even when being comforted, if he was in pain, he's going to cry. Slapping him, causing further pain, only worsens the problem.

      February 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  12. Bob Sacamano

    Guy's a scumbag obviously, but why is she allowing images and video of her kid to be plastered all over the air?

    February 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Jane D.

      Maybe because it's a cute kid?

      February 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  13. Rob

    How in the world could the airline prevent something like this? It's people like you that are ruining this country with your sue everyone attitude.

    February 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  14. Pam Guevara

    What this guy did was illegal and cannot ever be justified. That said, I once sat on a plane from Los Angeles to Chicago with a shrieking toddler in the seat directly behind me. The kid was screaming when they brought her on the plane and was still screaming when we touched down in Chicago and the rest of the passengers could finally make their escape. Never shut up for an instant. On another flight from Chicago to Boston I ran into the same situation, only this time the kid insisted on kicking the back of my seat as he flailed around and fought his mother's grip. Toddlers do not understand what aggravating snots they can be at time and slapping them is not an option, but I do think it would be a good idea if some of the larger aircraft came with at least one sound-proofed "crying booth" for parents to haul their out-of-control brats into when the kid goes over the edge emotionally. Had the plane this incident happened on been equipped with such a cubicle in all likelihood this kid-slapping never would have taken place.

    February 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  15. joe

    who cares

    February 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  16. jaybee

    well said...and I wouldn't mind a separate charge for his actions against the mother, as well

    February 20, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  17. merridee

    I'd love to see the charges enhanced to felony level with a hate crime enhancement. That is not a man we need participating in our democracy as a citizen and a felony conviction should end up costing him his civil rights.

    February 20, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Saher

      That's a bit extreme. Not defending the guy, but sheesh, take away his civil right?! He definitely needs anger management at the very least though.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  18. Jason

    Good that this man has been fired! His attorney said he's not racist? Really? This man should never be allowed on a plane ever again or be in the company of small children. He should have to go to counselling (not only 3-4 times) and attend AA meetings and do community service on top of jail time at shelters or where there are African American people. This is atrocious what happened to this family and I am appaled that the airline didn't take measures to notice that he was intoxicated and should have never been allowed on the plane to begin with and appaled that they let this mother stand with her child by the bathroom! If someone should have been standing by the bathroom, it should have been this moron. He needs to be charged with a hate crime and the family compensated by the airline (for their unused seat) and by this man in way of financial retribution! This is unacceptable.

    February 20, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  19. hannah

    Sorry, I think there's nothing worse than being "trapped" (plane) with a screaming kid that no one can control. Give the poor guy a break. You wouldn't like it either.

    February 20, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Jane D.

      You could fly first-class if you require a certain atmosphere. I'm perfectly capable of tuning it out or putting on head phones, myself. It's not like they can take the kid outside or into another room, like in most other environments. It's just part of the flying experience. I'd rather be sitting by a noisy child who at least fits in their seat, than next to the majority of adults whose mammoth arms spill over into my lap.

      February 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Pam Guevara

        I've heard that some airlines have explored "kid free" flights. No kids under whatever age where they cannot be controlled by an order from a parent.

        Works for me.

        February 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  20. Michael Harmeyer

    My heart goes out to this family for having to endure such a vile situation. There is never justification for striking a child. Ignorance and hate has no place in modern society by any racial group. I find the actions of this man obscene to such a degree that if he is not a racist (as his lawyer contends) then he is a child abuser and needs to be punished as such. Any act of violence against a child can not be accepted for any reason and even though this man ( and I use that term very loosely) was clearly intoxicated and the fact that their is no justified reason to strike a child or use racial slurs this man doesn't have a leg to stand on. I certainly hope that he not only receives the stiffest punishment under the law but encourage the family to file a civil complaint as well.. Personally I feel that their is some liability on the airline for not properly protecting this family and the civil suit ( if one were to be filed ) should include them as well as the child abuser/ racist. I don not feel that this man needs to charged with a hate crime although his actions and dialogue would promote such a charge. At the very minimum this man endangered the safety of not only this family but everyone on the plane through his actions. Punishment must be severe both financially and physically to set the stage for a new way of being. Being free of racism, free of threat and free of ignorance. Again my heartfelt sympathies go to this family for having to undergo such a ordeal let us hope that justice is served diligently and restitution is adequate although I can not think of any sentence or amount that would be.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm |