Tameka Cross was on board Delta flight DL945 when a man two rows ahead of her became unresponsive. As a medical doctor, Cross stood up to help her fellow passenger and according to her own account on Facebook, was told by a flight attendant that she needed to sit down. Now, this story of Delta Airlines’ discrimination has gone viral and as of this posting, the airline has yet to respond or to apologize to Dr. Cross.
The story only gets worse when flight attendants asked over the intercom if there was a doctor on the plane. Tameka says she again stood up to offer assistance but was drilled about what kind of doctor she is and asked for credentials to prove that she really was a doctor. Meanwhile, the passenger was still unresponsive and in need of help.
“I raised my hand to grab her attention. She said to me, ‘Oh no sweetie put [your] hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you,'” Cross wrote in a Facebook post about her experience on the Delta Airlines flight. “I tried to inform her that I was a physician but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks.”
As Tameka Cross continued to explain herself to a flight attendant, whom she says didn’t believe that she was a qualified physician and asked her questions about why she was in Detroit that were unrelated to her proficiency to save a life, another man identified himself as a doctor. Apparently, he looked the part because Tameka Cross said that while she was being interrogated about her credentials and what she was doing in Detroit, the older Caucasian gentleman began aiding the distressed passenger.
— S a • W a y n e © (@MrSaWayne) October 13, 2016
Cross said that the flight attendant told her at that point that they no longer needed her help because another doctor had already stepped in. She also said she was informed that he had shown credentials. Cross said that as she observed the exchange, being that she was only two rows behind the passenger who needed help, the other “doctor” never did show credentials.
“Mind you he hasn’t shown anything to her. Just showed up and fit the ‘description of a doctor,'” Tameka Cross wrote.
For the record, Dr. Cross is an OB/GYN and has plenty of experience with patients in distress as well as surgical experience. She is currently a fourth-year resident physician. Dr. Cross is in residency at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Several minutes later, the flight attendant again approached Dr. Cross and informed her that they did, in fact, need her help. That’s when she got up and proceeded to examine the man and see what she could do to assist.
“The patient and his wife weren’t the problem, they needed help and we were mid flight,” she explained.
A Delta airlines flight attendant blocked Tamika Cross from helping an unconscious man aboard her flight because… https://t.co/PPN74sx7cT
— Black Girl Long Hair (@bglhonline) October 13, 2016
After the incident, Dr. Cross said that the flight attendant apologized for giving her a hard time about being a doctor. She said that she was offered free Delta SkyMiles to compensate for the humiliation but that’s not what she wants. Instead, Tameka Cross decided to report the incident to Delta Airlines because she feels that she was discriminated against and that the flight attendant simply didn’t believe she was a doctor because she is a young black female.
“I don’t want SkyMiles in exchange for blatant discrimination. Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right,” Cross wrote.
— Shaniqua Jones (@Shan_Jones0808) October 13, 2016
While it’s not clear exactly what Tameka Cross wants done to make things right for the way she was treated, she certainly wants to bring awareness to the discrimination that she felt she suffered at the hands of the flight crew. It turns out that stories of alleged discrimination such as this one aren’t uncommon, and as Dr. Cross’ post continues to go viral, many other professional black woman have stepped forward with shocking stories of discrimination and humiliation they have encountered because employees of banks, airlines, and other services simply did not believe they could possibly be educated professionals with high paying jobs.
Delta Airlines has yet to respond to Tameka Cross and her now-viral experience on flight DL945 from Detroit to Houston. Do you believe Dr. Cross should be compensated for the discrimination? Should flight attendants and other customer service providers receive additional training on how to avoid mistreating customers or making assumptions based on appearances? Tell us what you think can be done to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.
[Featured image by Markus Mainka/Shutterstock]