It’s only Monday, and already the prize for ‘Snowflake of the Week’ must surely go to the fashion executive who is suing British Airways for refusing to allow her onto a flight with her ‘emotional support dogs’.
It seems that having spent years working in the high-pressure, high-drama fashion industry, Sharon Kao cannot admit to suffering from anything so pedestrian as a fear of flying, and instead has obtained a letter from her doctor which attests to her suffering from a “disability requiring her to be accompanied by her emotional support animals”.
A British Airways check-in staff member at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, displaying the cynicism for which the French are so well-known, apparently called bullshit on her profession of disability and refused to allow her to board with her dogs, prompting her to experience difficulty breathing and forcing a member of the public to step in and prevent her from falling when she appeared close to fainting. She was taken to hospital for medical checks before being released and allowed to fly home, but is now claiming that the emotional trauma of the event has left her suffering from “mental anguish, severe emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other emotional damages”
Now, far be it from me to be unsympathetic – we have all, at one time or another, had a run-in with a particularly officious person either at check-in, airport security or at the boarding gate, and the experience of being denied boarding on the return leg of a flight when the outbound leg was unproblematic, is particularly galling. But in claiming disability as an excuse to carry her presumably highly pampered pooches around as the ultimate fashion accessory-cum-security blanket, I can’t help feeling that Ms Kao invited the derision with which she was treated.
Maybe she needs to take a break from what I can only guess must be a highly stressful job, maintaining the highly expensive lifestyle that she and her husband lead, and actually spend some time around people who genuinely do have a disability. That may give her some perspective on what a charmed life she leads. Oh, and she should definitely fire that doctor who, instead of recognising her “anxiety and panic disorder” for what it is, and prescribing either therapy or pills to overcome it, decided instead to define it as a disability and prescribe “emotional support animals” as a solution.
We trust medical professionals to diagnose our ills and do their best to cure them – not to feed delusional beliefs that we are uniquely afflicted with an ailment that sets us apart from the rest of society and necessitates special treatment that, more often than not, simply inconveniences everybody else. If Ms Kao wishes to lead a happy, lower-stress lifestyle, she should by all means spend plenty of time with her dogs – but she also needs to learn how to behave as a normal member of society, around animals of the human variety.