By Anthony Ogbonna
An audio clip of a discussion between former aide to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on electronic media, Pastor Reno Omokri and a customer rep of Delta Airlines has raised an allegation of racial discrimination against blacks by foreign-owned airlines.
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Pastor Omokri narrated how he was discriminated upon by the airline’s rep after his flight from Boston to Minneapolis on Saturday was cancelled without clearly giving them reasons or what next to do.
However, In the audio provided to Vanguard by Omokri, one of the managers is heard to have admitted they treated the pastor unfairly but went ahead to say they could still deny the event ever happened even when Pastor Omokri told them he had a photo and recorded evidence of all that happened.
According to Omokri, the airline’s rep rudely insulted him and refused to give him directions but was unhesitant to offer the exact aid to a white lady who came for same issue.
Listen to the audio below:
Although Omokri said he would have let go the occurrence, but, he however made it known to the public because, “if I do, how many other Black men, women and children would be treated like this?”
So, what really happened?
“My flight from Boston to Minneapolis on Saturday the 8th of April 2017 was cancelled by Delta and we were directed to a line at gate A8 about 1:10pm to get help, after a 34 minute wait, the ladies at the line said they had to prepare for another flight and told us they could not help us any longer. They were very cold and unfeeling and did not tell us where to go from there. There were several of us and we were confused. We did not know what to do.
I left them and went to gate A7 of Logan Airport at 1.51 pm and went to the lady at the front and tried to ask her how to get to the help desk but she refused to listen to me and said I must join the queue before I could even ask her a question even though my question was just asking for directions. There was a queue in front of her male colleague but no queue in front of her. I tried to tell them all I wanted was directions to find the help desk but she wouldn’t listen.
Each time I tried to say ‘where is the help desk?’ they shut me down and she and the male colleague completely ignored me. After the second attempt at asking her for directions, the male colleague interjected and rudely asked me to go and join the queue. I respected myself and left. I was confused. I did not know what to do.
Then a White girl who was in the same situation as me walked up to the man who had just dismissed me. There was a queue in front of the man and she, like me, did not join the queue because all she wanted was directions. She asked him for directions.
The same question I wanted to ask. He responded to her politely even though, like me, she was not on the queue (the queue was for those whose flight had not been cancelled) and directed her to the help desk. To be sure, I approached the girl and asked her if the man had dismissed her for not joining the queue just to ask directions to the help desk. She said no. At that point, I walked up to him and took his picture. He became agitated.
I still did not know where to go so I had to leave the terminal and found a help desk outside Security. At around 2:45pm, the man who had been rude to me came out to where I was and I approached him and asked him why he would treat a customer in distress like that and treat another customer in the same situation differently and he was even more rude to me and said ‘you are blind’ and walked away even after I told him I was a pastor and I could wait for him if he was too busy.
So, what happened next?
27 minutes later, he returned to me with the station’s manager, Mr. Jeff Hollar, and after he admitted being rude to me his manager appealed to me to delete the picture.
Did you delete the picture?
No. I told the manager that he had not addressed my concerns and that if I deleted the picture, the guy who treated me rudely would deny the story.
And what did the manager do or say?
The manager incredibly responded that the man could still deny that the incidence ever took place, even though he had just admitted it in front of both of us. At that point, I told the manager that everything he and the customer service rep had said had been recorded.
How the manager could even suggest denying something that had just been admitted in front of him bears me!
Did you not think that, as a pastor, you could have let it pass; what do you think?
My instincts as a pastor are to forgive and forget. But if I do, how many other Black men, women and children would be treated like this? I have the recording. Please help share this until it gets to someone at Delta Air Lines who truly cares about how Delta treats paying customers!