Truth be told, 2018 might be the weirdest year yet. Stories surrounding less than conventional emotional support animals have been popping up over the past few weeks, but this latest tale is a doozy. Apparently, a Spirit Air flier flushed her hamster down a toilet, which she claims was at the suggestion of airline security. Alright, well, I have a few questions.
Belen Aldecosea, a 21-year old college student in Baltimore, Maryland, planned to fly back home to South Florida for a medical issue, according to The Miami Herald. However, before she embarked on her journey, she needed to bring one more passenger with her: her pet dwarf hamster, Pebbles. According to Aldecosea, she called Spirit Air twice in order to ensure that her hamster would be allowed onboard and was told that it would be no problem. However, Aldecosea was in for a surprise once she arrived at the Baltimore airport, when Spirit refused to allow Pebbles on the plane. Aldecosea claims that a Spirit Airline representative suggested letting Pebble run free outdoors... or flushing Pebbles down one of the airport toilets. Oh, OK.
Derek Dombrowski, media relations manager for Spirit Air, tells Elite Daily,
After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this Guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal. It is incredibly disheartening to hear this Guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life. Our reservation representative, unfortunately, did misinform the Guest that a hamster was permitted to fly as an emotional support animal on Spirit Airlines. When the Guest appeared with the hamster at the airport, our agents offered and the Guest accepted an opportunity to take a later flight, so she had time to find other accommodations for the animal. Our records indicate she was scheduled to take the 10:39 am flight on Nov. 21, but ended up taking the 7:42 pm flight that day. We did offer the Guest a voucher for the inconvenience, but we never heard back from her.
According to Aldecosea, The Miami Herald reports, she was at a total loss for what to do. School was hours away, and she couldn't successfully rent a car. So what did this damsel in distress decide to do?
She flushed her hamster down the airport toilet.
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea told The Miami Herald. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
So, in light of this information, I need some questions answered. How did she decide that flushing Pebbles down the toilet was more humane then let's say, releasing her into the wild? Giving her to an arriving passenger? Asking airport security to hold onto her so someone could pick her up? Just taking her back to her dorm??
Well, to answer some of those questions, according to Aldecosea, she did consider releasing Pebbles into the wild, but decided it would be "more humane to end her life right away." Aldecosea was supposed to return home for a medical procedure, and would have been unable to make her flight if she went back to campus to drop off Pebbles. So, she was in a total bind.
“I didn’t have any other options,” Aldecosea told The Miami Herald.
It makes sense why Aldecosea was stressed about the decision, but her measures still seem a little extreme to many people. If I had the ability to hop into someone's mind, Belen Aldecosea's would definitely be the one I chose.
This is definitely a weird scenario, and Twitter has some Thoughts about it.
Since the United Airlines emotional support peacock fiasco that occurred on Jan. 31, where a woman tried to bring a literal peacock onto a flight as a therapy animal, the topic surrounding emotional support animals has ignited a lot of controversy among airlines and the public.
According to Aldecosea, Pebbles was a certified emotional comfort animal. I'm not trying to discredit anyone's need of emotional support by any means, but if you flushed your emotional support animal down a toilet, for any reason, aren't you going to need a ton more emotional support for the future? I'm just saying.
Can 2018 please be over already?