Yes, you read that right.
Richard Brown nearly died on Sunday, January 21st, thanks to reckless indifference by a Southwest Airlines ticket agent.
A dying hep-C patient, Richard, secured an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. After getting turned down, he was referred to the University of San Francisco.
When he went to board in Scottsdale for California, the ticket agent refused to let Richard fly unless he bought another ticket, due to his weight.
The weight gain is due to water retention because of his failing liver. Richard lives on California Disability Pay and had no funds to pay for the extra ticket. The flight was not sold out.
The ticket agent didn't care when shown Richard's medical papers, saying, “each airport has their own rules and these are ours, no extra seat, no boarding.”
Richard, not having access to readily available funds, could not afford to purchase another seat. Indeed, various family members contributed the only spare change they had to give Richard a mere $300 for meals and incidentals. Again, the plea for help fell on deaf Southwest ears.
Richard contacted his mother via a collect call, who in turn immediately called Southwest's customer service, which turned out to be a myriad of transfers and wrong numbers. Customer service agent after customer service agent, each Southwest agent transferred Mrs. Diffey to a wrong number and refused to help, even once to the baggage department in Texas.
Until finally, an agent in Dallas named Becky offered to pay for the ticket herself.