Kima Hamilton was kicked off a Delta Airlines flight on April 18 because he went to the bathroom while the aircraft was sitting on the tarmac in Atlanta (video below).
Hamilton told WTMJ the plane was stopped for about half an hour, and not moving when he pleaded with the stewardess to allow him to empty his bladder.
In some cases, it can be become a medical emergency if the bladder is not emptied and becomes distended.
According to Hamilton, the stewardess told him that she would have to inform the pilot and the plane would lose its place in line on the takeoff runway.
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Hamilton recalled going back to his seat while the plane continued to wait, but he could not wait any longer, got up and used the bathroom. When he returned to his seat, there was an announcement by the pilot.
"The pilot came on and said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry for the inconvenience but we have to return to the gate and remove a passenger,'" Hamilton told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It escalated to that point that fast."
The newspaper asked Hamilton, an art teacher at a middle school in Milwaukee, about why he did not use the bathroom earlier, and he replied: "I don't normally pee right before I get on the plane, and I've never had a problem like this before. I don't remember drinking an abnormal amount of water."
"I thought it was a medical emergency," said Michael Rosalino, another passenger. "But then Mr. Hamilton told me he thought they might be talking about him. I told him that can't be the case."
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Rosalino, who is a lawyer, filmed two Delta employees asking Hamilton to get off the plane.
"Mr. Hamilton was never confrontational," Rosalino added. "He was very polite. He only asked for clarification throughout."
In Rosalino's videos, the first Delta employee knowingly refuses to answer Hamilton's specific questions or give clarification.
The second Delta employee acknowledged that Hamilton had an emergency, but said the plane had to follow a protocol. The second employee told Hamilton that he just wanted to discuss the scenario if Hamilton would follow him.
The second employee also told Hamilton that he was not going to be kicked off the plane, but then told Hamilton seconds later that he would be re-booked on another flight. The second employee insisted that re-booking Hamilton on another flight was actually a form of help for Hamilton.
The pilot announced that the plane was returning to the gate, and everyone would have to de-board the flight. Everyone then re-boarded the plane except Hamilton, who was not allowed back on the plane.
"Ultimately, we lost hours because of a 30-second bathroom trip," Rosalino recalled.
"It was already understood and decided that I was a problem and I was getting kicked off the plane," Hamilton told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "When I exited there were FBI agents waiting for me with Delta personnel."
Hamilton was glad there were witnesses to the incident, which escalated into a federal law enforcement matter.
"In that environment I'm at their mercy," Hamilton said.
Rosalino stayed with Hamilton for as long as he could: "You just have to keep your head, and be a gentleman and everything is going to be OK."
After Delta chose to delay the flight, the airline only gave Hamilton half a refund. He had to catch a Southwest Airlines flight to get home, which cost him triple the normal price. Hamilton was not able to get his luggage off the Delta flight.
Rosalino stated: "I think we would all admit that no other industry could get away with this type of behavior."
In response to the incident, Delta issued a statement: "Our flight crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers. It is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions during all phases of flight, especially at critical points of takeoff and landing."
Delta did not say how Hamilton's bathroom use jeopardized the "safety and security of all customers."
Hamilton wants to have a conversation with Delta to make sure this kind of thing never happens again, but the airline has not hinted that anything their employees did was wrong.