United Airlines passenger Ronald Tigner of Houston, filed a lawsuit against the airline after being violently shoved to the ground by a United employee in a 2015 incident.
The video of the incident surfaced on the internet Tuesday and immediately went viral. According to Houston's KPRC-TV, the incident occurred at George Bush International Airport in July 2015 after 71-year-old Tigner approached a United employee at a check-in kiosk to acquire a new boarding pass.
The report alleged that United employee Alejandro Anastasia refused the man's request for help, claiming that he was too busy.
“Can’t you see we’re busy?” Anastasia purportedly asked.
Tigner allegedly then told Anastasia to “wipe that smile off your face,” and in response, Anastasia swore at Tigner, pushing him to the ground.
After Tigner was shoved to the ground, it can be seen on the video that he remained on the ground, motionless, for several minutes. Another traveler approached shortly after and told airport employees to call 911.
Tigner's attorney, William Hoke, told KPRC, "This is just one of the most inhumane things I've ever seen in my life."
"No one even went to check his pulse," Hoke said. "They literally left him there like a piece of garbage."
After the incident, Anastasia was charged with the felony crime of injury to an elderly individual, and was ordered to pay a fine as well as attend anger management classes.
After the video went viral, the airline issued a public apology and revealed that they had fired the United employee.
United told KPRC via a statement that they condemned the employee's behavior as “completely unacceptable.”
"We have seen the video from 2015 that shows completely unacceptable behavior by a United employee. This employee is no longer with our company. The conduct shown here does not reflect our values or our commitment to treat all of our customers with respect and dignity. We are taking a thorough look into what happened here and reaching out to our customer to profusely apologize for what occurred and to make this right."
Tigner is seeking more than $1 million in damages, citing negligence on the airline's part.
See the altercation in its entirety in the video below.