I’m sure by now you’ve heard or seen the horrific video of Dr. David Dao being dragged, bloodily out of his seat on a United Flight after refusing to give up his seat. I, along with many, felt the injustice as it was too easy to replace him with myself or someone I know. This could have been any one of us. I asked myself, “Why did this news story go viral so quickly and what affected people so greatly about it?” What made Dr. Dao such a hero? Then it hit me… He said no. He knew his right as a paying customer for his allotted space on that plane. He knew the importance of getting back home and that he didn’t have to leave just because someone in an authority position was asking. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to not jump when anyone in an authoritative position, in this case airline security, commands you to do something. He had the courage to say no. Where in your life do you need to muster the courage to say: No? I wanted to go even deeper and understand why this was hit home and was visceral for so many people. Simple… How many times in life have you given up your rights to a teacher, a parent, a spouse, a boss, a policeman/policewoman or anyone else in authority because you felt not as good as? Less than? Inferior in some way? We are asked multiple times a day to “give up our seat” in various situations. Too often, we give it up because we don’t believe in ourselves or own our allotted space in life. Occupying this divine space, that is your right as a human being, is challenging for many. We constrict, contort, shrink, or even go invisible at times because we undervalue who we are…allowing the words “not enough” to be some sort of truth that has an ever-changing bulls-eye, subjective in the eyes of who ever is “evaluating” us. The United Airlines Catastrophe had a modern day Rosa Parks feel, with less civil infringement. I applaud Dr. Dao for standing his ground and knowing his right, not only as a customer, but mainly as a human being. I am constantly learning from all things put in front of me and this viral news story has big lessons to teach us all:
- United, and CEO Oscar Munoz, got their lesson with the public backlash and stock that dropped 600 million. Lesson: A lack of human empathy will not work in this day and age.
- Even though there may be repercussions, knowing your value and right as a human being to occupy the space you have been allotted will amount to being a symbol of what’s possible for many. Some may even call this a beacon of light. OWN YOUR SPACE!
- There are millions of people who care. This is evident from the people on the plane saying, “This is not right!” to the people who have cut up their United credit cards in solidarity to what is a human right. People are inherently good and don’t want to see others get hurt.