Multiple news media sites have been reporting about a woman who is Deaf and her boyfriend who were unjustly kicked off the plane due to communication issues. After much investigation, Deaf Vee Journal was able to find Heather Hermiz, the girl behind the mask. The only story released thus far has focused on Mike Stanley, a Denver-based comedian’s version of the story. While the stories have used his tweets, nobody has spoken to him or his girlfriend directly to get the full story.
Stanley’s Twitter recounted their experience, he was “absolutely disgusted” with the way that his girlfriend was treated, claiming that a flight attendant mocked his girlfriend for her disability. Hermiz was contacted by Deaf Vee Journal to further clarify what had happened. According to Hermiz, the flight attendant had told her that she did not have her mask on her nose and was not in compliance with the airline’s policies regarding masking. “I didn’t hear her or understand so I said, I read lips I’m sorry I don’t understand. So she then pounded on her nose with her finger and said… Do you understand this?!?” Hermiz recounted the incident.
This flight attendant had gone as far as mocking Hermiz to other passengers because she did not believe that Hermiz had been Deaf. As soon as her boyfriend told her to pull up her mask she did so because she was fully aware of him talking to her when he told her to do that.
Next, the attendant had gotten Hermiz and Stanley kicked off the plane because she had been “non-compliant” with the same policies regarding masking that she failed to effectively communicate to Hermiz just a few minutes before.
Hermiz was offered two choices when she was back at the gate, either she could get her money back for the tickets she had purchased. Or they could put her on a different flight. She opted for her money back. This has still not been remedied by Frontier.
When Hermiz and Stanley were approached initially by a member of the ground team, they had asked Hermiz to wear her mask properly and they explained to that individual what happened and that she apologized to them. (In the meantime, she had noticed that she, herself was not wearing her mask properly and moved her mask to cover her nose.) Hermiz thought that was the end of it, but then when another lady approached her, the lady motioned for her to get her things and go to the jetway.
“I told her that I can’t understand anything without him [Stanley] and she told him to get his things and get off the plane” Hermiz recalled during a conversation with Deaf Vee Journal.
If you are looking around for a video, there would not be one for you to find. She did not record the incident because she did not imagine that she was being told she was lying about being Deaf. “I am humiliated. I can’t stop crying” she posted on her facebook right after the incident. “Just because I don’t look Deaf and I can talk doesn’t mean I’m not.”
A couple of days later, it was discovered that Frontier had taken it a notch further. Not in her favor but rather the attendant’s favor. Hermiz is now not allowed to fly Frontier going forward and is on their “no-fly” list.
Hermiz posted on her Facebook that the head of Frontier Security emailed her and put her on a “no-fly list.”
“The head of Frontier Security emailed me today and banned me, put me on a NO FLY list after they refused to believe I couldn’t hear even though I told them, “I’m sorry I didn’t know you were talking to me, I’m deaf and read lips” and then mocked me to other passengers. Saying, “she can hear me” and I sat there quietly with my mask on as they pointed, mocked, and threatened.” (Hermiz)
She proceeded to emphasize that she has nothing against masks, this flight attendant had made some accusations that were false i.e. saying to others that she was refusing to obey or wear a mask on the flight which is the opposite of her personal stance about masks.
“They said I repeatedly refused to wear my mask and that’s why I was kicked off the flight. In reality she was embarrassed after learning she was abusing a deaf woman. I’m Pro-mask, ask my friends” (Hermiz)
Frontier has been contacted by Deaf Vee Journal for comment.