When a San Francisco family was reportedly kicked off a plane over their child's peanut allergy, their story received national attention. But now, says the kid's father, the family is getting virulent hate mail on the subject — no, not just nasty comments or Facebook mentions (both of which are distressingly common in this day and age) — some people were so incensed by the fairly benign story that they tracked the family down and started sending them angry emails.
Here's how it all began: Bay Area parents Kyson and Sara Dana had just boarded a flight from Provo to Oakland Monday, when Sara informed a flight attendant that their two-year-old son, Theo, had a severe allergy to peanuts.
"My son has a peanut allergy, is there anything you can do, like can you not serve peanuts around us, is there anything you can do to help accommodate for that?" Kyson told Fox 13 his wife asked the attendant on the Allegiant Air flight.
"My wife said, 'We're obviously flying on the plane, and we recognize the risks. We have an EpiPen with us,'" Kyson says.
When they got to their seats, Fox 13 reports, the parents "wiped their seats down with the sanitation wipes and got settled in," as a second flight attendant notified those seated around the Dana family of the peanut situation "And it seemed like the situation was resolved."
But then a third flight attendant told them "We've spoken to... the pilot, and we are going to have you removed from the plane," Kyson says, claiming to him that they had spoken with a medical professional and determined that allowing them to fly would be unsafe.
Following the incident, Allegiant first seemed contrite, with a spokesperson telling the Danas "allow me to offer my sincere apology for the inconveniences this incident has caused for you and your family...We regret that you were denied boarding due to any misunderstanding regarding the severity of your child’s peanut allergy."
The airline took a harder line when contacted by CNN, which picked up the story this morning. In a written statement to the broadcast network, the airline said that "The Dana family indicated to our flight crew that their son had a severe peanut allergy. The flight crew then contacted a third party organization that advises Allegiant and other carriers when making decisions about the safety of passengers with potential medical issues onboard an aircraft...The third party organization, which includes on-call medical doctors available to provide guidance, advised that the family not fly on that specific flight."
The airline gave the Danas "tickets on another carrier," Allegiant told CNN, but according to Fox 13 it was "a generous Provo Airport worker" who "secured them a new flight at no cost and with a different airline, then personally drove them to the Salt Lake City International Airport to fly home."
I'm super surprised that:— Kyson Dana (@kysondana) May 6, 2016
A) @CNNTravel is running our story
B) people are literally sending me hate mail over it. Haha whaaat?? 🤔
It was that CNN attention, as well as, I suspect, the patriarch's easily-googleable name that led to this story's rather odd postscript. Kyson Dana, a SF-based UX and visual designer, quite reasonably has a personal website in which his contact details are easily found. From there, it appears, some opted to drop him a line...mainly to tell him to shove it. For example, this email, which Dana tweeted:
Here is the latest email I received. Who even bothers taking the time?— Kyson Dana (@kysondana) May 6, 2016
According to American Board of Allergy and Immunology Certified allergist Dr. Kay Walker, who spoke to Fox 13, the Danas weren't actually being "drama momma"s, the airline was. Characterizing the Danas' rejection from the flight as "unreasonable," Walker says that plane passengers with peanut allergies are always advised to "alert the airline, wipe the seat area down with sanitation wipes, and avoid eating airline food," making the Danas' behavior pretty normal.
If one takes those steps, they should be safe to fly, Walker says, though nut dust, "when it settles, could possibly harm you--even though that is also rare."
Less rare, it seems is the ire of people eager to castigate a parent for their efforts to care for their child. Hang in there, Dana family, and take comfort in the knowledge that every one of these angry emailers lives a life significantly sadder than yours.