United has apologized after a video showed an elderly passenger being shoved by an employee of the airline in Houston, Texas (video below).
The video shows 71-year-old grandfather Ronald Tigner being knocked to the ground and knocked unconscious by a United Airlines service representative, after he asked a question about his boarding pass, the Daily Mail reports. Tigner is suing the airline, reportedly seeking over $1 million in damages.
The incident shown in the video happened in 2015, and Tigner's lawsuit was filed in June.
The video shows the man being left on the ground until another passenger, who happened to be a nurse, comes to his aid. Eventually, an employee called 911 to get help for Tigner.
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"It was a good Samaritan, who was a nurse, that was catching a flight, ran over and said, 'Please, God. Someone call 911,'" said William Hoke, Tigner's attorney.
The employee that shoved him, Alejandro Anastasia, is facing a felony charge of injury to an elderly individual. He was ordered to pay a fine, in addition to taking anger management classes and writing an apology letter to the victim.
Hoke said that when Tigner approached Anastasia for help with his boarding pass, which was erroneously printed, Anastasia laughed and cursed at the elderly man.
"Anastasia was looking at Mr. Tigner and started smiling and said, 'Can't you see we're busy?' and there's no one in the vicinity of these two employees," said Hoke.
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"And he tells Anastasia to wipe that smile off his face," Hoke said. "That's when Anastasia says, 'I'll kick your [expletive]' and shoves Tigner to the ground."
When an employee called 911, they reported that "a 70-year-old male" had "fallen down." When the operator asked if he was awake, the employee told them, "I don't know."
When asked, "Do you know the cause of the fall?" the employee answered no.
United, which is still dealing with the backlash from an incident in April in which a doctor was dragged from a plane to make room for employees, issued a statement apologizing for the attack, the Watertown Daily Times reports.
The airline said that Anastasia is no longer working for United, adding that it was "disturbed by the completely unacceptable behavior shown in a video of a customer and a former United employee."
"The actions shown here do not reflect our core values or our commitment to treat all of our customers with respect and dignity," said the airline.
"We are reviewing all circumstances surrounding this incident and reaching out to our customer through his attorney to profusely apologize for what occurred and to make this right."
According to the lawsuit, Tigner suffered "physical disfigurement" and "mental anguish" from the incident, as well as losing wages and having to pay medical bills.