This is a video that went viral Sunday that shows a United Airlines employee smacking a customer after he told the customer not to use an airport wheelchair as a luggage cart.
The flyer argued with the employee before responding to the smack by assaulting him several times with strikes to the face. The employee tried to fight back but all resulted in him getting knocked out. A large cut on the die of the left eye of the employee is seen.
There are no news stories at this time on the incident but it’s been posted this was Newark Airport.
But it still isn’t clear what caused the fight. It isn’t clear if earlier punches were thrown or even when this happened, either, though it was posted on Instagram Sunday afternoon.
From what I can gather, this is a United Ground Express (UGE) agent at Newark Airport (I recognize the check-in area). UGE is a subsidiary of United Airlines. Those employees assist United check-in agents with luggage tagging and handling.
It doesn’t matter who started it. United lost. It has already lost.
United’s best way to handle this is not to blame the passenger, even if he holds 90% of the blame. Instead, United’s best response is to state:
Whatever the context, we hold our employees to higher standards. The employee has been terminated. We do not tolerate violence at United Airlines.
Here’s the thing: this wasn’t self-defense any way you cut it. People don’t just get upset and I’m going to speculate here. I bet the passenger was horribly rude. Check out the huge piece of luggage in the video. Perhaps there was an overweight fee involved. Perhaps that surprised the passenger and he said some nasty things to the United employee. Maybe some profanity or even some racial stuff.
It. Doesn’t. Matter.
There can be no claim of self-defense when you have ample time to walk away safely. “Stand your ground” is not a defense. Whatever happened before the video started recording, the United agent could have walked away and called the police. Instead, he chose to fight.
Even if he was subject to absolutely disgusting abuse, he’s the one wearing the uniform and he must be held to a higher standard. He must be terminated. United must condemn his behavior with no caveats.