The man behind the controversy speaks…
On April 9, the world was shocked when Dr. David Dao was forcibly dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville after he refused to give up his seat. Video of the incident went viral and sparked worldwide outrage.
Later that month, the airline and the 69-year-old reached an “amicable settlement.”
Fast forward to Friday, David gave his first full interview to DailyMail.com where he opens up about the humiliating event, and how he’s doing ever since the bloody altercation.
Unfortunately, the Kentucky-native has no recollection of what happened, and is still recovering from his physical ailments, including two lost front teeth, a broken nose, and a concussion. The MD also fears he has permanent brain damage.
“I’m in the process of recovery. I cannot concentrate well, or sleep well, I need more time to recover, more rest from concussion. I need surgery to correct my nose, but first of all I worry about my brain… It affects my sleeping, coordination, concentration, doing anything. It could be permanent.”
Most tragically, Dao can no longer enjoy his passions, which include running marathons.
“I am a marathon runner, I’ve done 31 marathons – Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas – but I cannot run, I just walk slowly. I can only cook and use a computer very slowly.”
As we reported, because of the bad PR, United changed its overbooking policy so that a passenger can only be removed to accommodate a crew member if it’s absolutely imperative.
With this new rule in place, David is open to flying with the airline again.
“I would fly with United again, because aviation policy has changed after the accident, I want to see how it’s changed. I would be happy to fly tomorrow if I was well enough. They haven’t offered me free flights though.”
Shortly after the video went viral, it was discovered that the poker player was convicted in 2004 for exchanging prescription drugs for gay sex with a patient!
“It happened nearly 15 years ago, it was my mistake, it’s a long story, and I’ve been trapped, I didn’t do anything illegal, it was a set up… I’m really upset, I just trusted the wrong person. He was working for my office, and he got caught with prescription drugs, and blamed everything on me… He was a minister at the church, I thought he was a good person, I trusted him to become the manager of the office, I didn’t know he’d use my name to get those drugs himself, but he then blames it on me… Nothing happened, I was the boss, he was the employee. He was the manager for me and my wife. She only told police because she found out he’d stolen some money… It’s not true that I got caught in my pants.”
In a surprising twist of events, the doctor is actually grateful for his experience with United as it made his family stronger, and it has directed him to a life of charity.
“The accident with United Airlines happened I think for a reason. God wanted me to have this suffering, so that I could appreciate it, and then I could do charity to help poor and sick people… I’ve now had three things happen in my life, I now just want to help others. Those moments can’t be taken back. I use this faith to help people… The United Airlines episode put all my family together. The bad thing is the accident, the good thing is that my family have come together. I am pleased about that.”
Either way, we just hope this NEVER happens again!
[Image via Twitter.]