by Derek Saling
Traveling can be a stressful experience for everybody. Flight delays, running through terminals, and catching reservations on time will make anybody weary. For some, it gets even worse. Louis Zaharias, who has a tragic history regarding his missing children, thought that he was taking a standard trip via airplane only for his travels to end injured, disrespected, and deeply humiliated at the hands of United Airlines.
Upon arriving at John Wayne Airport (Orange County, CA), he had hoped that it would be a standard process of grabbing his things and returning home. However, he was unfortunately presented with the issue of some of his items being lost, some of which were gifts that he had received from a sickly aunt who he had just visited.
Being one of the top airlines in the US, the company has an office in the airport that is supposed to be able to help customers with any issues that have arisen. Supposed to. When he returned to California, all he found was pain and disregard from a place he went for help.
What should have been a routine process of returning missing possessions, which the company had lost, turned into a nightmare scenario. After giving him the standard runaround of filling out forms and demands, Louis Zaharias was walking along when he violently struck his head on a plexiglass shelf that was protruding from the wall.
He hit the shelf with enough force to knock him to the ground and received a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, and injuries to his knees and spine. He laid there, helpless, directly in front of the airline employees – who, rather than fetching help of assisting him themselves, decided they would do nothing for the suffering man.
When he was finally able to muster up enough energy to crawl on his hands and knees to get help himself, the physical exertion forced him to vomit and urinate his pants. The United Airlines abusing customers became even more evident here, this time with the workers laughing in his face, as told by Nehora Law.
Thankfully, some decent citizens eventually were able to get him some help and get his situation taken care of. But an event like this is scarring for people, and also reputation scarring for a major company like that. And sadly, it’s not the first major tragedy of his life.
A history of sad events
His name might sound familiar to some because he is the father of the Zaharias children, who were kidnapped in 1987 and haven’t been seen by their father since.
Christopher (age three at the time) and Lisa (15 months old) have likely lived their entire upbringing without being aware of what actually happened in their childhood or that their father has been searching for them for decades.
Their mother kidnapped the two from their California residence and fled across the country. While there were a couple of sightings, these tips never led to any concrete information that authorities could use to track them down.
This is an excellent reminder of why companies like United Airlines should always be treating customers with the utmost respect. You never know what struggles somebody may have gone through, and they don’t deserve the humiliation that he went through.
The United Airlines complaint file seems like it would be endless, and with stories like this coming out, only continuing to grow. With stories like David Dao, the man who was assaulted by security officers after the airline overbooked a flight in 2017, the bad publicity has not stopped.
Louis Zaharais has lived a life with difficulties, and the last thing he needed was taking United Airlines abuse just to find some missing gifts. Hopefully the company will reach out to him and rectify the situation. Certainly that is the least they could do after their brutal handling of it initially.