Summary List Placement
A mother says that a Southwest Airlines flight attendant told her to glue a face mask to her 2-year-old daughter’s face when the toddler refused to keep it over her mouth and nose.
Ali Cleek is now speaking out about the incident, which she said left both her and her daughter Drew in tears.
“I can’t believe this happened to us today,” Cleek wrote in an Instagram post about the encounter. “You hear about it but never expect it to happen to you.”
Cleek said she and her family were on a Southwest Airlines flight from Orlando to Norfolk, Virginia, on August 12 when Drew “started crying and would not keep on her mask.”
“Drew is a thumb sucker and her only way she biologically knows how to soothe herself is by sucking her thumb which is damn near impossible with a mask,” Cleek wrote in the post. “Well two flight attendants stood over me watching as we held her down and tried to get her to wear it.”
Cleek said on Instagram that as she continued to struggle to get Drew to wear the mask, one of the flight attendants sarcastically told her to either cut a hole in the mask or glue it to the toddler’s face.
The mother told Insider that she has since received an apology from Southwest Airlines.
“Our experience was very disappointing and I just hope that we can all have a little more compassion for one another,” she told Insider.
Speaking with Fox News, Cleek added that the flight attendant also indicated that she had glue available.
“I just know that, regardless if it was sarcasm or not, I was embarrassed and trying to follow the mandate as much as I could,” Cleek told Fox News. “My daughter is two. We were doing everything we could to comply.”
Cleek wrote on Instagram that she respects the federal mask mandate but “at some point we have to have human decency.”
A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines told Fox News that “customers are reminded of the federal masks mandate multiple times prior to travel.”
“The federal mask mandate for travelers has been in effect since February 2, 2021 and requires all passengers over the age of two to wear a mask at all times throughout the travel journey,” the airline added. “We appreciate the ongoing cooperation among our customers as we work, collectively, to follow the federal mandate and support the comfort and well-being of all who travel with us during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Representatives for Southwest Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.