What the heck is wrong with people? Yesterday I first wrote about the horrible fight that took place between an airline employee and customer, and I wanted to update the post, as we have some more information about the incident.
United ticket agent & passenger get in fight
Video footage is going viral of a United Airlines ticket agent getting into a physical altercation with a passenger at Newark Airport (EWR). He technically worked for the United Express regional subsidiary, but from a passenger’s perspective that shouldn’t make a difference.
This incident allegedly took place around 11AM on Thursday, May 19, 2022. The video has been viewed over 15 million times since being posted to social media just over a day ago, so odds are that just about everyone is going to be seeing this video shortly.
There are a couple of different clips of what happened. The most viral clip is 45 seconds, and it shows the United employee making the first physical contact. However, there’s a second video that shows the passenger making the first physical contact, so the video seems to start a bit earlier. Regardless of which version you watch, note that this is pretty graphic and bloody, so use your own discretion.
Context really is missing here, as we don’t know how the dispute started, as every version of the video already shows the two actively in a dispute and fighting. We also don’t know for sure who threw the first punch — the clips we have show the passenger throwing the first punch (so I suspect he was first), though we don’t know what happened before the filming started.
For those who (understandably) don’t want to watch these clips, the videos depict both the passenger and United employee provoking one another. The passenger hits the United employee, the United employee hits the passenger, and then the passenger hits the United employee harder, causing him to fall back and hit the floor.
The United agent gets up with a ton of blood on his face, and tries to keep fighting. To the passenger’s credit, at this point he just talks to the United employee and doesn’t hit him again, even though the United employee is clearly asking for it and wants more of a dispute.
Passenger charged with assault, United employee fired
The United employee depicted in the video has allegedly already been terminated, though there’s no update on whether he was seriously injured beyond that (based on the amount of bleeding, hopefully he got medical attention).
The passenger involved in the incident is allegedly Brendan Langley. He’s an ex-NFL star who was drafted to the Denver Broncos in 2017, but he now plays for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League.
A team spokesperson said the following:
“The Calgary Stampeders football club is aware of the reports concerning Brendan Langley. The team is currently looking into the matter in order to learn the full details and will have no further comment until the investigation is complete.”
Langley has been charged with simple assault, and was released on his own recognizance.
There’s enough blame to go around here
We really don’t know who started this confrontation, so based on what we know, we can’t definitively say that the passenger or United employee is more at fault. Based on the videos we do have, it looks like the passenger may have made the first physical contact, but we don’t know. That being said, airline employees are supposed to deescalate situations, and the United employee here most definitely wasn’t doing that.
There’s no doubt that many passengers have been horribly misbehaved during the pandemic, and airline employees have had to put up with a lot. But the United employee here definitely isn’t innocent. He did nothing to walk away from the incident, but rather taunted the passenger, and even hit him. And even when he was knocked to the ground and bloody, he still went back to the passenger and wanted more of a fight.
The passenger obviously isn’t innocent either. It’s not just on the job where it should be common sense that you shouldn’t pick a fight and punch people. He didn’t deescalate the situation either, and should have walked away. Furthermore, as far as we can tell, he probably threw the first punch.
I think there’s enough fault to go around here, but in the case of the United employee, this definitely isn’t the level of professionalism you’d expect from someone at their place of employment. One thing is for sure — this is going to get a lot more publicity than United’s new “Good Leads The Way” ad campaign, and I’m not sure this employee’s behavior reflects good “leading the way.”
Kids, this isn’t what self defense looks like
I see some people in the comments section suggesting that the United employee was simply engaging in self defense, and I wanted to address that. Of course everyone is entitled to defending themselves. If someone comes up to you on the street and tries to beat you up, you’re entitled to fight back if you think that’s the best option to protect yourself.
But if you ask me, self defense should be about, you know, defending yourself. And to me, defending myself would mean minimizing the harm inflicted on me in a bad situation.
If I were the United employee, my goal would be to not be knocked over and be bleeding from my face. The way I’d go about that is by not getting in someone’s face, not repeatedly taunting them to hit you, and not walking back up to them after they’ve beaten you up. I wouldn’t act like I’m in a boxing ring or a video game.
To be clear, I’m not saying this situation is more the fault of the employee than the passenger, but what I am saying is that it didn’t have to go this way. It’s not like the passenger was chasing the United employee. The United employee just kept coming up to him, and not once did he try to walk away (at least as far as we can see).
So for the young people reading this, you’re a much bigger person if you can safely walk away from a situation like this, rather than “defending yourself” in the form of being beaten up in a situation that seems entirely avoidable. To the people in the comments section mentioning that this is just standard self defense, is this really what you teach your kids? “Hey, if someone bullies you or you have a disagreement, just pretend you’re in a boxing ring and keep fighting until someone is knocked out?” C’mon…
A United Airlines employee and a passenger got into a fight at a ticket counter at Newark Airport last Thursday. While we don’t know what the dispute was about or who started it, the behavior on both sides is awful. Airline employees are supposed to deescalate situations, and this United employee sure doesn’t do that, even after he has the daylights knocked out of him. Meanwhile the passenger also shouldn’t ever think it’s okay to get physical with an airline employee.
The United employee has been terminated, while the ex-NFL player involved in the incident was charged with assault (and should be banned from United, in my opinion).
What do you make of this United incident?
(Tip of the hat to Mike)