Society

Marine Veteran Says U.S. Airways Mistreated Him And His Service Dog

| by Lisa Fogarty

A former Marine who has a service dog to help him cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder, says a U.S. Airways steward mistreated him and his animal on a recent flight from Florida to Detroit.

Eric Calley, from Williamston, Michigan, travels with his Doberman pinscher, Sun, who is trained to help him deal with the PTSD he suffers as a result of serving two tours of duty in Iraq. While on the Dec. 7 U.S. Airways flight, Calley says he was sitting in coach when a flight attendant from first class yelled at him because Sun placed his paws on an empty seat next to him while the airplane was experiencing turbulence, reports the Daily Mail.

Other passengers reportedly felt the steward’s behavior was out of line and quickly came to the veteran’s defense.

“It was blatant disrespect,” said fellow passenger and Iraq war veteran Chuck Aaron. “I couldn’t just sit there and not say something. He [the flight attendant] started telling us that he was going to have the police waiting when we landed because we were being hostile.”

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Calley says the mistreatment by the airline went beyond just yelling. He says employees revealed to other passengers that he has a medical disability and asked him to show proof that Sun is a service dog.

Calley credits Sun with "rescuing" him and says the dog monitors his heart rate and breathing, as well as the tension in his muscles, and is able to calm him down. The dog also wakes him up if he’s having a nightmare. Before Sun came into his life, Calley says he was an alcoholic who drank to deal with panic attacks and flashbacks.

U.S. Airways apologized this week and sent the former Marine a letter that read, “it appears our airport personnel didn’t handle the situation with the quality customer care we expect.”

Source: Daily Mail/Photo Credit: Facebook