The family of a U.S. Army soldier killed in Afghanistan on Nov. 12 was reportedly booed by first class passengers for delaying a flight that was taking them to be reunited with their son’s remains.
Stewart Perry, the father of 30-year-old Sgt. John Perry, said he and his wife were flying on an American Airlines flight to Philadelphia from Sacramento when the incident occurred, according to the Daily Mail. The trip had a layover in Phoenix, and their first flight was 45 minutes late.
The crew was afraid the family would miss their connecting flight and arrive late to meet their son’s remains, so they arranged for passengers to stay seated on the plane so that the Perry family could exit first.
According to Perry, several first class passengers began booing when they learned they wouldn’t be getting off the plane first.
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“To hear the reaction of the flight being delayed because of a Gold Star family, and the first class cabin booing that was really upsetting, and it made us cry some more,” he told KMAX.
“It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see,” he added, Daily Mail reported. “You could see the disappointment from the flight crew.”
Perry added that the airline did “everything they could” to make sure the family got to their destination.
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Perry said he’s troubled by the attitude towards Gold Star families as of late, particularly by the president-elect.
“One example would be Donald Trump speaking badly about a Gold Star family, who I now am, but it also bothers me that people don’t want to talk about the terrorism that killed my kid,” he said, according to KMAX. “My kid was over there to help put a stop to this garbage, and he died.”
A GoFundMe page was ultimately set up to help the family, and raised more than $20,000 in four days.