Last week an elderly and disabled woman was left feeling “shocked and depressed” after being racially abused by a fellow passenger on a Ryanair flight.
Delsie Gayle, who was flying home on flight FR015 from on October 15 from Barcelona to London Stansted, said: “I was shocked, nobody ever said those words to me.”
The episode was filmed by David Lawrence, who posted it on his Facebook Page. He said he chose to publicise it to show the world what had happened.
The film clearly shows a man shouting at Delsie Gayle. He was telling her to move seats. Her daughter told me that her mother is disabled. The man can be heard saying: “I don’t care whether she’s fucking disabled or not – if I tell her to get out, she gets out.”
He went on to call her an “ugly black bastard”.
Gayle, 77, did move but amazingly but the abuser was allowed to remain in his seat even though the flight had not taken off yet. So why wasn’t he walked off the plane for what was clearly an unwarranted attack.
Describing her shock, Gayle told ITV News:
I feel very low. He paid a fare to go on holiday, I’ve paid mine, so why does he abuse me for that due to the colour of my skin? He do it with me and he gets away, he’ll do it to somebody else.
I feel really depressed about it. I go to my bed and say, ‘what have I done?’ I haven’t done anything for you to attack me. Because of the colour of my skin I was abused like that?
This episode leaves questions unanswered. Why wasn’t the abuser told to get off the plane? Why did no other passengers intervene?
David Lawrence had to choose between filming the scene or intervening. He chose to film “because of the power of social media today, and the importance of the public knowing that these incidents take place”. Another passenger called him “childish” for doing so.
This incident took place in Spain and Ryanair is registered in Dublin. That means UK law does not apply so there would not be a facility for extradition.
Ryanair tweeted on Sunday that it had reported the matter to Essex police. “As this is now a police matter, we cannot comment further.”