A deaf couple from Texas has received a formal apology from American Airlines after their missing luggage was returned with an insulting note attached.
"Please text, deaf and dumb," the note on the luggage said. It had been written by an American Airlines employee who wanted to make sure the couple was reached properly – by text – but then added that the couple was "deaf and dumb" for an unknown reason.
James Moehle and Angela Huckaby were horrified at the note and took immediate action, writing to American Airlines about their disappointment with the note's offensive label.
"I assure you that neither of us are 'Dumb!' Rather, we are both hard-working individuals and responsible parents. We certainly deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We demand not only an immediate apology from American Airlines, but also that disciplinary action be taken against the employee who wrote the unacceptable note," Moehle wrote.
According to Huckaby, it was the first time that she had ever been called deaf and dumb, which is an old-fashioned, insensitive way of saying that someone is deaf. It was widely believed that those who were deaf or hard-of-hearing had lower IQs and difficulty functioning in the hearing world.
"We apologize to Mr. Moehle and Ms. Huckaby," a representative told ABC News. "It was clearly a very poor choice of words. We're confident that there was no ill will, but we'll be looking into this further and will be following up with our team members at IAH and the contractor that provides our baggage delivery services."
"To me, it's not enough. They have not satisfied me, nor have they, to my knowledge, satisfied my son either," Kaye Moehle, James' mother, said. "So far their messages have been dismissive. I want to hear something like 'we take this seriously, we are investigating, and we will get back to you.'"
James Moehle said he wanted to bring awareness of appropriate language to the airline and others who may come into contact with deaf people. He said he hopes that this will never happen to anyone again.