A senior at the University of California Berkeley thought his flight from Los Angeles to Oakland, California, would be like any other.
He boarded the plane, took his seat, and made a phone call. The 26-year-old student had just attended an event that featured the United Nations secretary general as a speaker.
Since the plane was still at the gate, he called his uncle to tell him about the exciting speech.
He told him about the delicious food that was served and how he got to ask a question of the secretary general.
But as he had the private conversation, he noticed the woman in front of him was listening in.
He said goodbye to his uncle…and that’s when things took a turn for the worse.
The woman told the flight crew that the student had made “potentially threatening comments” during his call.
When he got off his call, a flight attendant came over and walked him off the plane.
The student was then questioned by Southwest Airlines staff before the FBI was called to the scene.
If this sounds unfair to you, you’re not alone.
A man was removed from a plane without the opportunity to defend himself or get any explanation as to why he was being kicked off. Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was ultimately cleared of any suspicion and was given a refund on his flight. He arrived home in Oakland eight hours after he was due to land initially.
It shouldn’t have mattered that Makhzoomi was speaking Arabic.
It also shouldn’t have mattered that he’s an Iraqi refugee.
Makhzoomi was having a private, perfectly harmless conversation with his uncle. And yet, he was discriminated against simply because he was speaking a different language.
(via The New York Times)
What would you have done if this happened to you? It really puts it all in perspective when you exclude just one tiny detail…the fact that he was speaking Arabic.
Share your thoughts in the comments section.