All United Airlines wanted was to just go about its business. Unbelievably, Vietnam immigrant and doctor of taking-up-space David Dao could not accept that.
When you’re an airline you do what airlines do. You make planes go. People pay you to ride in them, but, so what? That’s their business. Your business, as an airline, is making the planes go. Up and down and over and back.
Planes need crews. This particular plane, the one that David Dao paid for a seat in, happened to need two crews. One crew to fly the plane and another crew to fly some other plane in the future.
The extra crew needed seats that were on the plane ready and waiting to take them to that other future plane, but inconvenient passengers were in them. So the passengers had to go.
People have been saying that what happened to David Dao, when he said “no” to that, was brutal. I don’t think people know what brutal is.
Brutal is not being allowed to kick a passenger off your plane, your plane, whenever you damn well want. It’s your plane, you bought it with huge — I mean yuge — bucks.
Do you people even know how much a passenger plane costs? Neither do I. But it’s a lot. They don’t just sell them along with the National Enquirers and the pepperoni sticks and the Hostess Twinkies adjacent to the checkout line to snag the last bit of change you might have after paying for your 12 items or fewer.
By the way, people, have you ever done that? Have you pulled your cart up to the 12-items-or-fewer cashier with exactly 12 items, and while the cashier was ringing up your exactly 12 items did you ever reach over and grab a package of jalapeño-laced pistachios and toss them on top of your 11 packages of bacon and one case of beer, and an alarm went off and you were swarmed by security guards who rappelled from the ceiling? And did they pound the life out of you for breaking the 12-item limit? Well, they should have.
Where was I? Oh, x yes. David Dao. The question before us is not whether or not David Dao got on the plane with 12 or fewer or more than 12 items.
The question is, given that he was on the plane at all and sitting in a seat he paid for, was it brutal or not to break his nose and teeth and give him a concussion and then drag him down the aisle to the exit and off the plane, for not getting off a plane that clearly did not belong to him?
Let’s put this into perspective. On the very same day that David Dao was being persuaded to leave a United Airlines plane, because he was taking up space, a man returning home from Costa Rica on another United Airlines plane was eating lunch during the flight when a scorpion fell out of the overhead baggage compartment onto his head. And, well, one thing led to another, push to shove, tweak to squeak, and the scorpion stung the man.
So? What do you expect? You go to Costa Rica, you come back. You think there won’t be a scorpion or two? Grow up, America.
David Dao was being so privileged. He “paid for a seat” to be propelled through space at hundreds of miles per hour without having to do anything more. What did United Airlines ever pay for? David Dao’s seat and the magic metal carpet that was going to hurtle him through the air, that’s what.
In conclusion, there’s a lesson to be learned here. He who owns a toy gets to say who can sit on it. That’s not brutality, that’s just the power of ownership and who can pay the most for guys with muscles and guns.
What happened to David Dao is only different by a degree from what happened to Eric Garner. Eric Garner thought he could sell single cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk without being bothered.
But he forgot he didn’t own the sidewalk. He wasn’t even close to owning the sidewalk. So he was choked to death.
Never mind that America is outraged by what happened to Dao. The fundamental equation won’t change. Whoever owns everything will continue to be master.
Read more Adventures in Irony columns here.