A couple came back from their dream vacation to Hawaii only to be met with two disappointments. One, their luggage had been lost. Two was worse. When it was finally found, the hearing-impaired couple's luggage had a note, "Please text, deaf and dumb." James Moehl and Angela Huckaby were horrified.
"I assure you that neither of us are 'Dumb!'" Moehl wrote to American Airlines. "Rather, we are both hard-working individuals and responsible parents. We certainly deserve to be treated with dignity and respect." Moehl went on to demand an apology and "that disciplinary action be taken against the employee who wrote the unacceptable note."
American Airlines did apologize promptly, writing:
We apologize to Mr. Moehle and Ms. Huckaby. It was clearly a very poor choice of words. We’re confident there was no ill will, but we’ll be looking into this further and will be following up with our team members at IAH and the contractor that provides our baggage delivery services.
But the couple is still not satisfied. James Moehl's mother, Kaye, says, “So far their messages have been dismissive. I want to hear something like ‘we take this seriously, we are investigating, and we will get back to you.” James wants them "to not ever do that again to someone else."
The word "dumb" is an archaic ways of saying a person does not speak. But the insulting, slang meaning of the word, "stupid" or "foolish," has taken over. Most of us know not to describe a hearing-impaired person who can't speak as "dumb." Some people are still thoughtless and ignorant, though. I think that was probably the case with the airline baggage handler. I don't think they meant to be cruel; someone was just being, well, dumb -- the other meaning.
I almost think Kaye Moehl wants the offending employee fired. I think that would be going too far. The important thing, as James points out, is that nobody does it again. I think they've raised a lot of awareness about how this word makes people feel -- and all of us will know better from now on.
Have you heard people use the word "dumb" to describe someone who doesn't speak?
Image via ABC News