(WMC-TV) - Friends of an injured Munford Marine were furious when they found out how Corporal Christian Brown was treated on a recent Delta Airlines flight.
"The word disgusting comes up, disgraceful. those don't even have enough meaning," said Corporal Brown's friend and veteran, Randal McKee.
McKee has known Corp. Christian Brown all of his life.
"He's being pushed through the plane after it's loaded with passengers. We all know how tight the aisles are, people's elbows hanging off," McKee continued.
McKee says Brown was granted a hunting trip by Walter Reed Medical Hospital flying back to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He got sick during the trip and flew back to the hospital for treatment. On this particular Delta flight, he was flying home from receiving that treatment.
As he was being pushed in his wheelchair to the back of the plane, he was humiliated to the point of tears because so much attention was directed toward him.
McKee says gate officials did not allow Corp. Brown to board until everyone else had been seated.
"I know at least two first class passengers offered their seats and the cabin crew at that point cited FAA rules that once the doors are closed, they can't move people around the cabin," McKee said.
Munford Mayor Dwayne Cole goes to church with Corp. Brown. He says since the incident, people have been very vocal.
"Basically it's been outrage. This type of thing should never happen," agreed Mayor Cole.
Action News 5 spoke with Christian Brown and his mother.
Neither of them can comment about this matter because it is now being handled by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Friends of Christian Brown say he will never fly Delta Airlines again.
"An internal review is already underway to understand what occurred and take appropriate action. What is clear is that we did not care for this customer the way we should have," said Delta Airlines Vice President of Customer Care Allison Ausband in a written statement. "This incident doesn't reflect the care with which Delta people serve our customers every day, and it doesn't reflect the high regard we hold for those who do and have served our country."
The statement continued, "We have the utmost respect and admiration for our active duty military and veterans who make tremendous sacrifices to protect and sustain the freedoms we enjoy every day; and our Delta team is typically very good at showing their respect through various means of recognition. Unfortunately, we failed in this situation. We strive to exceed expectations with every customer, and particularly regret when we fail a member of the military or person with a disability. We are taking this isolated situation very seriously and doing what we can to make it right with the customer."