James Moehle and Angela Huckaby, both of whom are deaf, were on their way home to Houston from a vacation in Hawaii when, on the last leg of their trip in Dallas, American Airlines misplaced one of their bags.
The airline returned that bag later, with this note attached: “Please Text Deaf and Dumb.”
The couple was outraged by the note. Moehle’s mother, Kaye Moehle, initially called for the employee who wrote the note to be fired.
American insisted that the employee who attached the note to the bag, who is not a native English speaker, had good intentions. The airline released this statement to the Dallas-Forth Worth NBC affiliate
There was no malicious intent on the part of the baggage handler. He was trying to warn the driver delivering the couple’s lost bag to text them (not call them) for they are both deaf and “mute.” But he isn’t a native English speaker and a common substitute word in many cultures (obviously, going out of practice in English) is “dumb.” AA has reached out to the family to apologize & convey there was no insult intended. The handler, along with many other employees, will undergo sensitivity training.
ABC News included an image of the note in its report:
Since the apology was issued, Kayle Moehle has rescinded her demand for the employee to be fired, though she still noted that the use of the term “dumb” was “derogatory labeling."
[RELATED: Ragan's new distance-learning site, Ragan Training, is the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.]
It would seem that at least one commenter on the NBC DFW story was less forgiving:
“Baggage fees and now this? I think flying AA isn't for me anymore,” the commenter wrote.