Airline apologizes for note on deaf couple's bag

DALLAS (AP) -- A deaf couple is upset over a note that an American Airlines employee attached to one of their bags, referring to the pair as "deaf and dumb."

James Moehle and Angela Huckaby were returning home to Houston from a vacation in Hawaii when one of their bags was misplaced by the airline. When it was delivered later, a handwritten note attached to the bag read, "Please Text Deaf And Dumb."

Moehle's mother, Kaye Moehle, said the note was "outrageous and cruel and unnecessary."

Airline spokesman Casey Norton said Friday that the employee who wrote the note did not intend to insult anyone and will go through sensitivity training.

One of the couple's bags was misplaced on the final leg of the couple's journey home, from Dallas to Houston. In such cases, American uses another company to delivery late-arriving baggage to passengers.

Norton said an American employee who is not a native English speaker scrawled the note to alert a delivery driver that he should contact the couple by text message when delivering the bag.

The airline employee "will go through new respect training," Norton said. "We are using it as a systemwide teaching example so that everybody is more respectful of those who have different impairments."

That was welcome news for Kaye Moehle, who had initially demanded that the worker be fired.

"I felt hurt for my son because I know how hard he works" -- he's been employed as a technician at the same heating and air conditioning company for 16 years, she told The Associated Press.

On Friday, Moehle said she didn't want anyone to lose their job and that some good could come out of the situation.

"The public hopefully has been educated a little more to know that the term 'deaf and dumb' has no place in our society, like other derogatory labeling of other good people," she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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