39-year-old Georgia mom Monica Gilliam experienced the worst nightmare of every parent: receiving a phone call that your child has gone missing. Gilliam had dropped her 12-year-old daughter off at an American Airlines gate inside Chattanooga Airport a week ago.
Gilliam’s daughter Kimber had taken a flight from Chattanooga to Miami in order to visit her father for three weeks. Its important to mention that the mother spent an additional $150 for her daughter to be escorted through the airports and wear a badge which notified airline crew that she was traveling alone.
Sadly, once Kimber got off the plane to Miami her escorts left her on her own to navigate the rest of her travels. Thankfully, she was able to get in touch with her father, who helped her find her way out of the airport before they met up.
Gilliam reported that an American Airlines manager called her over an hour after her daughter’s flight had landed to notify her that they were unaware of her daughter’s whereabouts and had already closed the terminal. “It’s not OK and it shouldn’t happen,” said Gilliam.
Now American Airlines has come under fire for the incident, as Gilliam has publicly criticized the airline for making her daughter find her own way out of the airport without any guidance.
A Miami manager admitted the situation: American Airlines had no idea where her daughter was.
“It turns out that the flight attendants waved her off the plane and said ‘bye’ and she said she didn’t know what to do so she kept going, because they were telling her ‘bye.'”
What makes the situation worse is that Kimber was still wearing the badge that displayed her name, information and status as an unaccompanied minor.
Watch it here: GoodMorningAmerica/Youtube
More details of this unfortunate incident from The Western Journal:
In a city identified as one of the nation’s largest trafficking hubs, the potential danger from this situation is clear. The terminal was immediately shut down once the missing child was noticed, but it was too late.
The young girl began to wander around the airport.
According to Gilliam, her daughter passed American Airlines employees, airport workers and even a TSA agent unchallenged. She was eventually able to make it out of the airport’s secured area and into the baggage claim, a public area.
Even there, the unaccompanied minor was allowed to walk free.
Fortunately, she was on the phone with her dad, who was trying to talk her through the airport signs. She eventually made it to him safely.
The terrifying ordeal has left Kimber unwilling to fly again.
In a now-viral TikTok video, Gilliam explains the horrifying situation.
Watch it here: Tiktok/Video
American Airlines has opened an investigation into the matter and has offered the family free flights and limo service.
“American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them,” the airline told WTVC. “We take these matters very seriously and are looking into what occurred. A member of our team has reached out to the customer to learn more about their experience.”
Gilliam is now warning other parents about the potential dangers awaiting any unaccompanied minor.