At 10,000 feet in the air, the fear of losing our son became a sobering potential reality today due to the negligence of Southwest Airlines. This took place after informing the airline my son’s peanut allergy when booking the flight months ago, calling customer service to ensure they had the information about his allergy, standing in the full service line to gain his peanut dust allergy documentation, and making the gate attendant aware and giving the required documentation to the lead flight attendant. We took all of the steps that that were supposed to protect our son and make sure Southwest didn’t give out their peanut snack during the flight. However, on today March 27, 2018, their “procedures” failed our son, and Southwest handed out their logo printed peanuts to the passengers on our flight heading home to Houston from Atlanta.
At approximately 10,000 feet our son’s throat started to close up -this only occurred after peanuts were handed out to passengers-in the closed cabin of the aircraft. As parents, that were dosing off to sleep on a 6am flight, we had no idea that we would end up having to make a life and death decision for our son. After being offered the peanuts that were supposed to be suspended for our journey, we quickly had to wake our son and monitor him. His reaction happened quickly and his throat started to tingle then started to close up. It was at that time that we had to administer his Epi Pen, for the first time since he was diagnosed with this life threatening disability at 2 years old.
Our son cried, and now he is filled with fear, because an airline and several adults did not take his disability seriously. He even said, “ I don’t want to fly anymore”. Our 9 year old son should not have to live with that anxiety and fear.
My biggest fear is that at 10,000 feet our son could have fallen asleep and never awaken. As parents, we are hurt and disappointed about what happened today. We should not have to fear that a “take off and landing” could be the last for our child. However, today that is the feeling and situation that has became our reality.
No parent should ever have to go though the hurt, pain and disappointment that we went though today. Just because you can not see our child’s disability doesn’t mean it’s not present.
Now, is the time for for food allergies to be taken seriously, and not ignored because it is truly life or death!