An apology would have worked

April 18, 2023


Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, Anthony Bass lit up the internet with a sticky family situation this week. It seems his wife, who is just over 5 months pregnant, was traveling alone with their two children, ages 5 and 2 and a popcorn-palooza took place. The problem arose when Bass claimed United Airlines “forced” his wife to clean up the mess. He then felt the need to scold United Airlines on Twitter. 

I recalled the first time my husband and I took our son to a restaurant where we ordered  “real” grown-up food for him and didn’t bring pre-mixed baby food. We were itching to get out of the house and went to a local Chinese restaurant in a strip mall, so it wasn’t fancy. We were early enough to be one of a few diners and ordered a simple rice dish for Harrison which he promptly grabbed a fist full and threw on the floor. One of us gently grabbed his hands and quietly, but firmly said, “No.” The other grabbed the bowl of rice and moved it away from him. Then, we spent the next ten minutes picking up grains of white rice off the dark blue carpet. 

Bass' wife took this photo of his daughters on the plane.

Did the restaurant have a carpet sweeper that could have taken care of the mess? I’m sure they did, but this was above and beyond the occasional dropped spot of food and we felt responsible. 

A 5 and yes, even a 2-year-old can understand, “No-no don’t throw food on the floor.” The mother should have told them to pick it up themselves. It would have kept them busy and good parents can turn chores into a game. 

Anthony Bass tried to argue that the airline had given the family-size bag of popcorn to the children as if that was reason enough to use it as confetti. Don’t mothers travel with their own Ziplock bags of appropriate snacks anymore, or is that also someone else’s responsibility?

People on social media didn’t take kindly to Anothony Bass’ assumption that the flight attendants on United should have cleaned up his children’s mess. 

One commenter said, “Whoa! Do you always expect everyone else to clean up your or your family’s mess? Feeling a LOT entitled, are we?” 

Others felt the same. One summed it up by saying, “won’t lie. The fact that the flight attendant had the guts to make the passenger clean up their mess kinda makes me want to fly United more.” 

It wasn’t the mess that upset people, but the lack of responsibility or acknowledgment of wrongdoing that prompted thousands to comment. 

I’m guessing if Bass’ wife had profusely apologized and said, “I am so sorry. I’ll take care of this.” Then, made the children help, the flight attendant would have been more likely to offer to help or show leniency. I’m smelling a bad attitude somewhere. 

The public is usually sympathetic towards frazzled mothers, yet this woman didn't seem frazzled. She took several photos of the girls sitting alone and didn't stop their popcorn party.

It makes me sad when a role model like Anthony Bass would take to social media to scold overworked airline employees. The end of the story came when Bass reported, “United Airlines is taking care of matters with the flight attendant internally,” which makes it sound like someone’s job is now on the line because in addition to providing safety, travel security, and assistance to everyone else on the flight, the flight attendant didn’t have time or patience to clean up after a poorly supervised child. 

An apology would have worked. 

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