Last month, the story of a seven-year-old boy whose allergy attack on a plane that forced his family onto another flight – leading to sporadic clapping among some intolerant passengers – generated a passionate discussion of who, if anyone, was in the right. Passengers did not realize that the boy’s father was dying, and the family had just completed a bucket list trip. An example of why individuals should keep their expressions to themselves, or did the fault rest with the parents and or airlines?
Parents Christina Fabian and George Alvarado were taking their son, Giovanni, 7, on a special trip – as it turns out their final trip as a family – in order to take their son’s mind off his father’s stage 4 throat cancer. The terminally ill Arizona dad has recently died, and the painful experience the family went through is once again making headlines.
According to ABC News on March 25, George Alvarado died Thursday at a hospice facility after losing his battle with esophageal cancer. In late February, the trio was on board an Allegiant Airlines flight, and were awaiting to depart Bellingham, Washington to fly home to Phoenix. But Giovanni, who is severely allergic to animal dander, started to break out in hives because of service dogs that were in the cabin.
The family alerted the flight attendants, who switched their seats. But Giovanni’s condition worsened, and after being checked out by an on-flight doctor, the family was forced to gather up their things and leave the plane. When they did so, several passengers from the rear of the plane started to “vigorously cheer and clap,” ABC reported.
“He began to get very itchy and he was scratching all over,” mom Christina said, according to KCENtv.com. “He started to get hives, so we informed the flight attendant who informed us that there are dogs on every flight and just smirked.” Later, she added: “If we needed to get off, that’s fine. But the disgusting behavior of the adult passengers, you just don’t expect that from adults at all.”
At the time, Alvarado said: “As a dad I was just hopeless right there. I just looked at the people clapping. I was just shaking my head, I was like man let’s get out of here. You don’t know how much time people have or why they are hurting. Just be nice. Be kind.”
“It wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault we got off the plane,” Christina said. “It was the flight attendant’s attitude that perpetuated people’s agitated behavior around us. It’s just the comments she had made.”
But it was young Giovanni’s words that stung the most:
“People who don’t have sadness, they don’t understand,” the seven-year-old said. “My dad is sick with stage four throat cancer. And that made me really sadder when I was already sad. I’m sad this has to be a memory with my dad.”
Christina has since spoken out again about the incident, saying it’s her hope that those on the side of the passengers or those who are quick to judge may have learned something.
“I hoped the calm and quiet way my husband handled the situation could be an example to others to be kind. He was kind to the core — he didn’t have an angry bone in his body. It just hurt him to not be able to protect Giovanni from that,” she said.