This Thanksgiving, a 12-year-old boy named Bryant Weasel was taken on his very first vacation from Indiana to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Bryant suffers from a rare form of epilepsy that causes longer and more frequent seizures, but his mother wanted him to finally see the world this holiday season, telling Daily Mail:
“This was the first time we have ever flown with Bryant. We decided we couldn’t keep him in a bubble and we wanted to give him the opportunity to see the beach.”
However, the airline trampled over Bryant’s first trip by throwing the worn-out child off his flight home—because they didn’t believe his service dog was legitimate.
Bryant’s previous, smaller service dog passed away the year before.
But luckily a local charity donated Chug, the 110-pound service dog who is trained to know when Bryant is about to seize, prevents the seizure by calming the boy down, and warns the family if the boy does go into a seizure while comforting him.
Bryant’s mother told Daily Mail she called American Airlines before the vacation and informed the company she’d be traveling with her epileptic son and his service dog Chug, a golden retriever and black poodle mix.
They flew through Charlotte on their way to the South Carolina beach without incident.
However, on their way back, the boy was senselessly kicked off a regional airline owned by American Airlines.
When they boarded their connecting flight, the PSA flight attendant informed the boy that no animals were permitted in the emergency exit, and that he should switch to a row with less room.
Once the boy switched seats, she then demanded that the 110-lb. dog crawl under the small airplane seat. The mother said:
“We tried to get him to go under but he couldn’t fit.”
The flight attendant asserted that all service dogs are required to obey the “under” command, but the family insisted Chug was just too big to fit under the seat.
They were then thrown off the flight.
His mother was furious, considering this was Bryant’s first commercial flight, having only been in air ambulances.
She told Daily Mail:
“I told the attendant, ‘He’s 110lbs, I don’t think he’ll be able to get under there.’
And she said, ‘Well, exactly. That’s why you’re not flying on this plane. Is he really a service dog? If he was then he would know the command “under” and be trained to go under the seat.”‘
They were placed on a different flight to Missouri, and had to drive three hours to get home in a rental car—missing Thanksgiving dinner.
The mother submitted a complaint to American Airlines, explaining what happened and saying she’d be extremely reluctant to fly with them ever again.
And the airline responded with a statement:
“Our customer relations team has reached out to the family, and had already provided a full refund for their entire journey, and will also reimburse the cost of the rental car. We have notified PSA Airlines, the regional carrier that operated the flight, and they are investigating the matter.”
Thankfully, Bryant wasn’t fully aware of the situation because he was exhausted from suffering a seizure that morning—with Chug right by his side.