Day after day our police officers put their lives on the line to make their communities safer, and they often go unthanked.
The men and women in law enforcement are people just like you, and me, and they are capable of feelings to. In today’s current social climate, police officers are often portrayed as the enemy, and that’s spilling over into how we treat those associated with the police.
Law Enforcement Today is a media company that specializes in covering the issues around law enforcement, and policing. They write about crime, legal cases, and a host of other things related to the police. Earlier this week, one of the members of their staff was mistreated by an employee of Southwest Airlines in Chicago, and the incident says a lot about how people view those who support the police.
“Let me start by saying I’m not one who thinks you should judge an entire company by the actions of a few,” writes Kyle Reyes. “Unless, of course, the company culture starts to encourage people to do the wrong thing.”
Kyle shares his story with what happened leading up to the Southwest employee interaction, and he talks about how hard his team had worked to cover C.O.P.S.:
“We spent four days in Chicago with Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) last week, interviewing the survivors of officers killed in the line of duty. We filmed countless sit-downs with incredible men and women talking about post-traumatic stress, the sacrifices of police families and more. It was an emotionally exhausting and yet incredibly inspiring week at their national conference.
We were there filming stories that will launch through this platform, Law Enforcement Today. To give context, in the month of October, we were blessed to reach more than 50 million people. We created and use this platform to give a voice to law enforcement and their supporters.”
Naturally, some people don’t take too kindly for supporting law enforcement. Namely, criminals. People who commit crime, or are friendly with criminals, typically don’t like police and those who associate with them. Perhaps that’s what happened next.
“It started the moment I walked up to the counter,” Kyle continues. “There’s no masking my support for law enforcement, especially when I fly. I was wearing an LE hat and a hoodie designed by Proud Pig, a company run by retired NYPD officers.”
“You could see the immediate look of disgust on the face of the woman at the Southwest counter. I gave her my license and my business card, showing that I’m the National Spokesman for LET. I let her know we’d be checking two media bags.”
That’s when Kyle was treated with disrespect simply for being a supporter of the police (among other assumptions that I can’t type out… but you know them).
“You is gonna have to pay for them overweight bags,” the woman told Kyle.
When Kyle told the woman that Southwest has a policy allowing members of the media to carry their equipment on without a fee, the woman didn’t appreciate it. And she definitely wasn’t about to let a person who supports the police get on without a fuss.
“That ain’t no media I ever heard of,” she said. “So you gotta pay.”
After showing the Southwest employee the website for LET, the employee proceeded to tell him that he needed a media badge for her to believe him. When Kyle was finally fed up, he asked to speak to a supervisor who gave him the same treatment:
“You need to pay for these bags. You don’t have a media pass. I don’t know you. For all I know, you makin’ up who you are.”
As if that wasn’t enough, the Southwest Airlines supervisor added:
“We don’t recognize your little ‘law enforcement media’ thing here in Chicago. You can complain to your little cop buddies. But in the meantime, I’m the boss and what I say goes. You go ahead and write a little blog about it to your two followers.”
Well, fortunately for the folks at Law Enforcement Today, they aren’t alone when it comes to supporting law enforcement, and we wanted to show our support for them.
Kyle wrote some scathing words in regards to the airline, and I must say he’s spot on:
The sad truth of it is that I believe that my once-favorite airline is fostering a culture in which the customer is always wrong. And they’re doing it by teaching employees that it’s ok to lie.
I started noticing it about six months ago for the first time. Every single flight I was on – EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT – the flight attendants would make an announcement that it was a completely full flight and that you needed to take the first available seat.
Listen – I get it. They want to speed up the boarding process. I’m totally on board with that. People are slow as molasses and it drives me nuts.
But here’s the rub – not a single one of those flights was completely full. Each had typically 10 or more unfilled seats.
Trust me, I know because in every case, one of those empty seats was next to me.
That’s by design. I’m typically flying wearing pro-police or pro-Trump outfits. Why? Because one of two things happens when I fly like that: either the seat next to me remains open, or I end up sitting next to a friendly.
A little white lie never hurt anyone, right?
It might not seem like a big deal… but as a business owner, I have a hard time believing that training employees to flat out lie to customers is in anyone’s best interest. When you create a culture where lying is acceptable, you throw your morals and your integrity out the window.
Kyle wasn’t done there. He went ahead continued calling out Southwest after catching them in yet another lie:
Last week, I arrived at Bradley International Airport (my home airport) to fly out and I was shocked to find that Southwest Priority customers were no longer allowed to use the priority line.
It’s worth pointing out that one of the reasons why so many of us who travel frequently strive to earn the “Preferred” status on Southwest is for that exact benefit. It saves countless hours.
I thought it might be an oversight, and so I reached out to Southwest. After four or five messages back and forth with them, I finally got them to realize that Bradley has always offered it… that it’s new that they’re no longer doing so.
Turns out, Southwest is totally okay with lying when Law Enforcement is involved. Perhaps they are joining in on the “woke” culture that says it’s cool to pick on cops and those who support them.
That employee for Southwest is going to wish he would’ve just let Kyle on the plane…