Fifteen-year-old Juliette Forbes is a beautiful high school sophomore. She is also autistic. When she and her family were on their way back home from Disney World they were kicked off a flight because the crew didn’t know how to handle her autism.
Juliette was hungry and is a picky eater. When she gets hungry, she gets moody. Coach food service wasn’t doing it for her, so her parents explained her situation to the flight crew and asked if they could pay for an upgraded first class meal. The crew said no, even after her parents warned them that there could be a “meltdown point” with Juliette.
Juliette never reached her melting point because before the family knew it, an announcement came over the loudspeaker that they would be returning to Salt Lake City because of someone “in the back of the plane who has behavior issues.”
All Juliette was doing was watching a movie. She was next to the window, and next to her parents. She was not a threat to anyone. So why did the plane turn around? Because the captain said he wasn’t comfortable with an autistic person on the plane.
Juliette’s mother, Donna Beegle, asked the other passengers if there was a problem and they said no.
They were escorted off the plane by fire officials.
One passenger has a different story, though. According to Marilyn Hedlund, Juliette was howling and disruptive. Headlund was afraid Juliette would open a door (which she didn’t have access to).
United Airlines is standing behind the decision of the pilot and crew, and Beegle has hired an attorney. She wants to help bring attention to autism and take some of the stigma and ignorance away.
Here’s the video:
Here’s a video that seems to back the family’s version of the story:
H/T: KOIN | Featured image via KOIN video.