CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) — Southwest Airlines refused to allow a boy with autism board his flight out of fear he might take off his mask.
According to news agency WDJT, Megan Kitze-Ward turned to Facebook Live last Tuesday night to say that her 8-year-old son Max, who has autism, was not allowed to board a flight from O’Hare airport for a family vacation.
“We got to the gate, and he didn’t have a mask on, and I had a doctor’s note,” Kitze-Ward subsequently told CBS 58. “I also had a Covid test in my bag, and she (the gate attendant) said ‘Is he not wearing a mask?’ I said ‘No, I have a doctor’s note,’ and she said ‘Okay, well, I have to go show my supervisor.'”
Recounting her interactions with Southwest’s gate attendant, Kitze-Ward continued, “I said, ‘Okay, he’s got a mask on’, and she said, ‘It’s too late, you’ve already shown me doctor’s documentation.’”
“My doctor’s documentation says he may have trouble,” the mother said she told the attendant. “It doesn’t say he won’t wear a mask.”
When the family realized Southwest was not going to grant Max a mask exemption, they decided to have Max put his mask on. According to Kitze-Ward, the gate attendant was sure the boy would not keep it on during the flight.
“And all she kept saying to me was, ‘I know autism, and I can’t guarantee that you’re going to be keeping that mask on him,’” Kitze-Ward recounted.
Finally, after Max had worn his mask for at least 45 minutes with no further accommodation from the airline, his family decided that he would remain behind with his father while his mother and sister went on what was supposed to be their first family vacation in three years.
“I just want other people to be aware,” Kitze-Ward said. “I just want Southwest to make this right and never do this to someone again.”