David Dao, the Kentucky doctor who was unceremoniously — and very literally — dragged off a United Airlines flight on April 9, 2017, is speaking out about the viral incident for the first time in two years.
Recap the incident, please
Dao, who was 69 years old at the time, was traveling from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife when the flight crew asked Dao to give up his seat for other United employees who needed to fly. The airline told Dao, his wife, and two other passengers that they would be put on another flight to Louisville in the morning to accommodate the United employees.
Dao refused, saying that he had to be at his hospital in the morning. Chicago Department of Aviation officers entered the plane, and dragged Dao from the aircraft, who hit his head and face on part of the plane, which knocked him unconscious and bloodied him in the process.
Video of the incident made its way onto the internet and sparked international horror and outrage. Video footage shows officers dragging Dao from the plane, his mouth bloody and his glasses askew.
Dao's attorneys later revealed that their client suffered a concussion, a broken nose, and the loss of two teeth in connection with the incident.
The airline faced heavy backlash for its treatment of Dao, and the company's CEO ended up issuing an apology. The airline changed some policies, including a pledge to allow travelers to remain on their flights unless there is a safety or security concern.
Dao sued the airline for an unspecified amount, and the company settled with him for an undisclosed amount.
What is he saying now?
In an interview with Amy Robach on "Good Morning America," Dao said that he "just cried" when he watched a playback of the viral video.
Dao, who is from Vietnam, said that he doesn't even recall being dragged off the plane, and said that he only remembered waking up in the hospital with a trauma team surrounding him.
Robach asked Dao, "What's that like, to watch [the video]?"
"I just cried," Dao said, choking up. "I don't know, I just cried."
Dao told Robach that he was heading home that day to open a free clinic for U.S. veterans the next day as a way to express his gratitude to the U.S. Navy. Members of the Navy saved Dao's life in the middle of the ocean 44 years ago after his attempt to physically flee communism in Vietnam.
He explained that things escalated "very fast," and that he absolutely did not at any point expect the incident to get physical.
Dao said that he ended up having to remain at his house for months due to the massive amount of scrutiny and attention he received following the incident.
"The most important thing is the accident turned out [in a] positive way," he said. "Airline business willing to change policy."
Dao said that he forgives the airline for its brutal treatment.
"If they don't do it, they must lose their job," he said. "So I'm not angry with them or anything like this. That's their job."
Dao told Robach that he wouldn't change anything about the way that the incident unfolded because it led to change.