David Dao, the 69-year old doctor from Kentucky who was dragged off a United Airlines flight against his will on Sunday night, has finally spoken out.
Talking to Louisville affiliate WLKY, Dao said he’s recovering from his injuries in a Chicago hospital and that “everything” hurts at the moment.
Added attorney Stephen Golan, whose name will likely surface often in the weeks ahead when Dao undoubtedly sues United for a kajillion dollars:
“The family of Dr. Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received.
"Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao’s medical care and treatment."
By now, of course, you are likely familiar with Dao’s story:
He was violently removed from an aircraft at O’Hare International Airport after he refused to volunteer to give up his seat on an overbooked flight.
United had offered up to $1,000 to any individual who was willing to take a later flight to Kentucky and then randomly selected a quartet of passengers after no volunteers emerged.
After Dao refused to leave the plane, employees contacted members of the Chicago Police Department, who dragged Dao away, opening up a wound on his lip at the very least.
“He was bleeding," said passenger Jayse Anspach, one of several witnesses who filmed the ugly incident. "He hit his face when they initially dragged him off."
Shortly after footage of the physical, one-sided confrontation (below) went viral, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz made things worse.
He Tweeted a lame apology that referred to Dao's removal from the plane as an example of how the company must sometimes "re-accommodate" passengers.
"Our team is moving with the sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened," Munoz added at first.
"We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve the situation."
This message was not received very well by the public.
Munoz also wrote an email to employees that went viral, actually complimenting how they handled the awkward situation.
In this email, Munoz describes Dao as acting “disruptive and belligerent” while telling his staff the following:
"I emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.
"As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it become necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help."
You can read the full email below:
Also lambasted on social media for this note to employees, Munoz tried to make amends once again on Tuesday.
He vowed that the company will “do better" when it comes to overbooking flights, adding in the first statement that made him sound like an actual human being:
The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment.
I share all of those sentiments, and above all: my deepest apologies for what happened.
Continued to CEO:
Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard.
No one should ever be mistreated this way.
Thank you! Would that really have been so hard to come out and say right after this happened?
In other news semi-related to this heinous occurrence, TMZ has learned that Dao had his medical license suspended for many years after being convicted of drug trafficking.
He also admitted to accepting sexual favors from a colleague in exchange for forgiving a debt she owed him.
Not very cool at all of the doctor, but not relevant to this situation in any real way.
Dao's sordid history doesn't mean United treated him fairly; it's not as though the company was even aware of his past, or that professional mistakes from a decade prior should be considered in regard to what transpired on Sunday.
Oh, and United is also the airline that banned a 10-year old girl from boarding a flight because she was wearing leggings at the gate.
Really, this happened:
Come fly the friendly skies, huh, United?
We assume you were going for irony with this motto.