A family, removed from a flight to Austin, Texas, because their young son would not wear a mask, eventually made it to their destination thanks to a local pilot.
“Erik Harvey, his wife Michelle, and their two-and-a-half-year-old son Jackson were all set to fly from Denver to Austin through Southwest Airlines on April 1st,” Fox 13 reported.
The family was aware of the federal mask mandate for passengers over age two and knew they had to get Jackson used to wearing his mask before leaving.
“I practiced with him at least two or three times at the house and every time he threw it off, but I figured that [Southwest] would work with us on the plane because he’s two,” Michelle recalled.
“The [flight attendant] came up to me and, at that point, Jackson had taken off his mask. She said, ‘I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re going to have to get off the plane. Your son needs to wear his mask,'” she explained.
Following the incident, Southwest issued a statement that read in part:
We regret the inconvenience this family experienced on their recent Southwest Airlines trip. However, federal law requires all Customers two and over to wear a face mask while at the airport and onboard the aircraft. This is communicated to Customers in multiple areas including during the booking process, checking in, boarding, and pre-flight messaging. Our Customer Relations Team has reached out to the Customers to further discuss the situation.
Erik posted a Facebook video detailing the events and said, “We walked off of that plane in a daze”:
Kicked off the plane. *Not an April Fool’s joke.
Posted by Erik Harvey on Thursday, April 1, 2021
However, when family friend James Peck saw the video, he decided to help.
“I knew that I could use that as a great excuse to go take a flight and help them out and get them here,” said the pilot, who flew his twin-engine airplane to Denver, collected the family, and flew them to Austin for free.
“I just was floored. I just said [to my husband], ‘You know what, babe? I’m nervous, but I feel like turning him down would be rude like this is an opportunity,” Michelle commented.
The pilot also offered to fly them back to Denver when their trip was over.
“The miracles will come to you, things will show up, and that Good Samaritan will show up,” Erik said of the gesture.