This is one more brick in the wall of resistance building against various government mandates in response to the pandemic. This story actually took place back on April Fools Day, but it was no joke for Michelle and Erik Harvey. They were boarding a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Austin with their two-year-old son Jackson. It turns out that Jackson is a fidgety little fellow as many toddlers are, and he wasn’t a big fan of wearing a face mask when going out of the house. The family purchased a cartoon-themed mask that he seemed to like, however, so they “hoped for the best.” The boy wore the mask while boarding the plane, but after being seated he took it off, declaring “that’s it.” That’s when the trip took a turn for the worse. (CBS Denver)
“He grabbed his mask, threw it off and said ‘That’s it,’” said Erik Harvey.
Harvey said a Southwest Airlines flight attendant told them if their son wouldn’t keep the mask on, they would have to get off the plane.
“We walked off that plane in a daze,” said Erik.
A spokesman for Southwest said, “We regret the inconvenience this family experienced on their recent Southwest Airlines trip. However, federal law requires all customers two and over to wear a face mask while at the airport and onboard the aircraft.”
The Harvey family turned out to be far luckier than most people who are finding themselves in similar situations. A former co-worker of the father, who is a licensed pilot with his own plane, volunteered to fly them to their destination and back. It was an expensive gesture of goodwill, but he said he did it so he could “turn their day around in a big way.” That guy deserves a medal.
In terms of who is to blame for this mess, the fault lies much further up the food chain than you might imagine. Anyone who has raised or had to deal with children going through the “terrible twos” already knows that toddlers can be very stubborn at times. Even in families that practice appropriate discipline, you’re going to run into trouble once in a while. Obviously, Jackson was having one of those moments at an inopportune time.
Southwest Airlines probably could have handled the situation a little better, but they were erring on the side of caution. If the stewardess had asked around among the passengers in nearby seats and nobody objected to Jackson not wearing a mask, they might have gotten away with ignoring the incident. But at the same time, they would have been in violation of the federal mandates. It only would have taken one passenger complaining about Jackson and the airline could have been facing ruinous fines.
So the real cause of this disruption is the fact that there is currently a federal face mask mandate in place for all people traveling across state lines. Joe Biden put that order in place shortly after taking office. But even if you agree with a mask mandate in general, why would you set the minimum age at two? Children are the least likely people to contract or transmit the virus. And incidents of that happening with children under the age of four are almost completely unheard of. Combined with the fact that two-year-olds can frequently be so impetuous, applying the mandate to them was a tone-deaf move.
I won’t even get into the studies showing that cloth masks (used by the vast majority of people) are practically useless. The point is, that most of the measures put in place thus far have tended toward overkill rather than common sense. And the more stories like the one being told by the Harvey family that show up in the press, the less people are going to be tolerating all of this.