Ali Cleek: Virginia mom claims Southwest flight attendant told her to GLUE mask to 2-year-old’s face
'I really don’t have words... I’m still shaking,' Ali Cleek wrote on Instagram
A shocked Virginia mother has taken to Instagram to reveal how her toddler daughter was treated on a flight on August 12 from Orlando to Norfolk. Ali Cleek said she took the Southwest Airlines flight with her husband and two children, aged four and two. Cleek said she and her family followed the mask mandate and wore it while on the plane, but her little daughter — Drew — wasn’t able to put it on.
She wrote on the social media platform, “We boarded our @southwestair flight home (that was 1.5 hours late) with NO AC in Florida when my two year started crying and would not keep on her mask. Drew is a thumb sucker and her only way she biologically knows how to soothe herself is by sucking her thumb which is damn near impossible with a mask.”
Cleek said while she and her husband held their daughter down and attempted to put a face covering on her face, “two flight attendants stood over me watching”. She continued, “Lots of tears from Drew and I. And then it happened… the flight attendant told me two things. 1. We could cut a hole in it (her sarcasm was absolutely ridiculous and infuriating). OR 2. We could GLUE IT TO HER FACE.”
The mother-of-two noted that she did not want to sound like an anti-masker before adding: “Wearing a mask is the federal mandate… I get it. I respect it. But at some point we have to have human decency. Compassion. I really don’t have words… I’m still shaking. And pray to God no one has this kinda situation happen to them.”
Meanwhile, a statement to Fox News by Southwest Airlines read, “The federal mask mandate for travelers has been in effect since February 2, 2021 and requires all passengers over the age of two to wear a mask at all times throughout the travel journey. We [Southwest] appreciate the ongoing cooperation among our customers as we work, collectively, to follow the federal mandate and support the comfort and wellbeing of all who travel with us during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.”
“As a note, customers are reminded of the federal mask mandate multiple times prior to travel. Southwest provides reminders during the booking process on our website; in pre-trip emails sent to customers prior to departure; and as a part of a customer’s Health Declaration Form that must be acknowledged during the check-in process on the Southwest app, Southwest.com, Southwest’s mobile website, and airport kiosks,” it added.
Cleek mentioned that when she contacted the airline after the incident, she received an apology from customer service. “They said they would essentially talk to the flight crew,” she added. But the woman wants proper communication around the company so that no one has to face what she and her family did. “I know I never want another parent to be in tears on an airplane because their 2-year-old won't wear a mask. I really don't want parents to feel like they have to hold down their child to put on a mask. I also don't want to feel like I can't travel with my kids by plane,” Cleek stated.