Deaf Couple Hurt by Airline's Insulting Note on Their Luggage (VIDEO)

deaf and dumbA 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.

ABC US News | ABC Business News

Have you heard people use the word "dumb" to describe someone who doesn't speak?


Image via ABC News



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nonmember avatar acoltfollowing

Wow. Overreact much? It obviously wasn't meant as an insult to their intelligence. Obviously they're smart enough to know if they make a big enough scene the airline will give them some money to shut them up. Now that poor employee will lose his job because these people want to sue for no reason. They're obviously not dumb...They're just shitty people

Em Chappell-Root

Sorry, the non speaking deaf people I know, and their families, still refer to it as "dumb" in the old fashioned sense. I think the air line was trying to ensure clear lines of communication with the passangers, and that they chose to take offense instead of saying, "hey, the proper term now is non speaking" not dumb.

nonmember avatar teddy

Did they really not know that "dumb" means non-speaking? Yikes. The phrase "deaf and dumb" is very standard. Why is this even a story? Why was it reported and on the news.

Mum2k... Mum2kj823

The phrase may be "standard" but it still can be hurtful and doesn't make it ok. I hate for people to lose their jobs but I do believe he/she should be reprimanded.

Momma... Mommabearbergh

It wasn't overreacting it was rude of the person to write that

Jacee... Jacee2348

I assure you that I am not stupid or uneducated, but I did not know that "dumb" was supposed to mean non-speaking. While I wouldn't have chosen to make this a public issue the way this couple did, I would have definitely wanted the employee reprimanded and to receive a bit of education on etiquette for sure. I can see where this was very offensive to the couple...

the4m... the4mutts

Even if it does mean "non speaking", it is not the place of the airline employees to be telling ANYONE, but especially disabled people to "Learn to text"

Wtf is wrong with you people? You're the real dumb ones.

Carme... Carmen8706

They didn't mean "learn to text." They meant that the couple couldn't be called because they wouldn't be able to hear the person on the other end of the line. And they did overreact. They weren't being insulted.

CKel CKel

I have never heard of the term "Deaf and Dumb" in reference to a non-speaking deaf person and I would have been offended as well. I wouldn't sue or cause such an uproar myself.

Einyn Einyn

Where does it say learn to text?? It says please text, dead and dumb. My brothers (premature twins) are both deaf and we've said dead and dumb. Nobody gets offended. And it's common to write "text, deaf" etc so people understand calling won't work. So ridiculous. We've taught Americans to complain to the media for money. What greedy money grubbing people.

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