Things That Matter

A Woman Is Suing American Airlines After An Employee Took Her Number From Her Luggage And Started To Text Her

Airports can be strange places. But typically, when you’re in the airport of an unknown city, there’s a sense of freedom and solitude—after all, depending on where you are, the chance that you’ll cross paths with someone you know is pretty slim. But what’s the likelihood of running into someone you don’t know . . . but who somehow knows who you are? For Ashley Barno, this unlikely situation became a reality in June 2019, when an employee of American Airlines took her number from the tag on her luggage, then proceeded to text her incessantly throughout her flight.

The stranger sent a text that read, “Hey, Ashley! How are you??” before immediately following up with a “Btw I must tell you that you are gorgeous!” Barno thanked him for the compliment, asking him who he was and how he got her number. Also, why was he texting her?

He told her to “guess,” then added that he worked for American Airlines, the airline operating her flight from San Diego to Chicago. After telling her that he “just saw her again at the airport” and she was “looking very gorgeous in grey top [sic],” Barno started to feel nervous. She was wearing a gray shirt that day, and she did not like that this stranger was watching her—she said that the messages made her feel “naked in a public place.” She glanced around the gate area but had no idea who or where this person was.

Barno says that the messages continued even after she boarded her flight, when the man revealed that he was also on the plane.

Credit: Joe Samo

“You want to sit next to me?” said another text, promising that he could get her a better seat. “I have two seats open next to me!” he claimed. “Will you join me??”

Twice, he asked her for her seat number and told her that he wanted to “chat the whole flight.” He claimed that Barno herself had given him her number, and when she insisted otherwise, he eventually admitted, “Honestly I got it from ur bagtag.” Barno knew that the tag on her luggage also mentioned her full name and mailing address, which made the situation even more tense.

“Not ok!” she responded. “Not cool.” Then she told him to leave her alone.

What followed was a deluge of 10 more text messages, including one that read, “Friendship with me will be very beneficial for you!!”

He proceeded to promise her “good seats, access to the lounges and free flights too!! You can think about it!” he wrote, later adding, “Just looking for one chance to prove my self [sic]!! I will be very respectful to you always.” (As if sending a barrage of unwanted, creepy messages is respectful behavior.)

After this deeply disturbing experience, Barno hired attorney Joseph Samo and filed a lawsuit against the airline and former employee (who, at the time of the incident, was still employed by American Airlines) over allegations of negligent hiring, sexual harassment and stalking.

Samo said that during the flight, Barno was emotionally distraught, and she notified a flight attendant about what was going on, mentioning that she was receiving unsettling messages from a man in row 15. According to Samo, the flight attendant responded kindly, ensuring that Barno was in a completely different area of the plane and checking in with Barno regularly. When the airplane landed, security guards escorted the man off the plane—the flight attendant told Barno that “this wasn’t the first time he’d done something like this.”

While American Airlines did not answer specific questions about Barno’s allegations or the case, company spokesman Joshua Freed confirmed that the man was employed by American Airlines at the time, though he wasn’t on duty during the alleged harassment. He wrote in a statement that “the employee involved in the complaint is no longer employed at American Airlines,” and that “American Airlines takes the privacy and safety of our customers seriously.” He added, “We investigated the allegations and took appropriate action.”

But Barno’s complaint contests this claim. Although Freed declined to comment on past allegations against the former employee due to the impending litigation, the lawsuit claims that American Airlines “knew of its employee’s propensity to inappropriately contact its customers yet continued to retain him as an employee.”

The complaint, filed last week in a San Diego division of California Superior Court, also states that “American Airlines did not do a sufficient job in hiring and supervising employees to keep its customers safe from sexual harassment and stalking.”

Barno affirmed that she felt frustrated and neglected by the airline when they failed to respond to her concerns about customer privacy after the incident. In an interview with NBC 7 in San Diego, Barno described her fear when she realized they were on the same flight: “Just knowing that he knew what I looked like, and that we were on an enclosed plane and that there’s no way out, like really, really scared me.”

Samo validated Barno’s feas, reiterating the need for action on the part of the airline. “We’re doing this to send a message to big corporations that this behavior is not acceptable,” Samo said. “They have to train their employees better and take better precautions to make sure these things don’t happen again.”

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Michelle Obama Says That She Has ‘Low-Grade Depression’

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Michelle Obama Says That She Has ‘Low-Grade Depression’

Scott Olson / Getty

Since leaving her life in the White House, former first lady Michelle Obama has been unabashedly open about her personal life. From writing about her marriage in her recent book Becoming to speaking out about our current president, Obama is unleashing her truth in so many ways. Recently, she revealed during an episode of her podcast that, like most of us, she’s been dealing with “some form of low-grade depression” thanks in part to recent events.

During last week’s Wednesday episode of her eponymous podcast, Obama talked with journalist Michele Norris about her mental health saying “Barack and I, we’ve lived outside of the norm of regular life for quite some time, and what we learned early on in the White House is — in order to stay sane and feel like the human that you once were — is that you have to have a schedule and a routine.”

Speaking out about her current mental state Obama revealed that she has struggled to keep up with her usual regimen. 

“I’m waking up in the middle of the night, ‘cause I’m worried about something or there’s a heaviness,” she explained. “I try to make sure I get a workout in. Although there have been periods throughout this quarantine where I just have felt too low.”

“It is unusual,” Obama went on. “And it’s a direct result of being out of body, out of mind. Spiritually, these are not fulfilling times. I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression. Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife, and just seeing this administration, watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting.”

Later on in the podcast, Obama explained she’d “be remiss to say that part of this depression is also a result of what we’re seeing in terms of the protests, the continued racial unrest, that has plagued this country since its birth. I have to say that waking up to the news, waking up to how this administration has or has not responded, waking up to yet another story of a Black man or a Black person somehow being dehumanized, or hurt, or killed, or falsely accused of something, it is exhausting. And it has led to a weight that I haven’t felt in my life, in a while.”

According to research, Obama’s not the only one feeling the “psychological toll” of the pandemic and BLM events.

The Lancet Psychiatry, revealed that soon after the release of the video taken during George Floyd’s killing, rates of depression and anxiety among Black Americans skyrocketed at ones much greater than any other group.

According to The Washington Post “The rate of black Americans showing clinically significant signs of anxiety or depressive disorders jumped from 36 percent to 41 percent in the week after the video of Floyd’s death became public. That represents roughly 1.4 million more people.”

To cope, Obama explained that she’s tried to be kind to herself in moments when she’s feeling down.

“You have to recognize that you’re in a place, a bad place, in order to get out of it,” she explained in the episode. “You kinda have to sit in it for a minute, to know, oh, oh, I’m feeling off. So now I gotta feed myself with something better.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090. 

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From Castor Oil To Fermented Rice Water, Latinas Are Sharing Their Hair Growth Secrets

Entertainment

From Castor Oil To Fermented Rice Water, Latinas Are Sharing Their Hair Growth Secrets

Ken Harding / Getty

When it comes to growing the hair on our head quickly, some of us take all kinds of desperate measures. From hanging our heads upside down to avoiding trimming our hair altogether, we often go to some pretty weird and extreme lengths for some length. We asked Latinas on FIERCE what tricks actually work for them and the answers pretty eye-opening.

Check out the tips below!

Castor oil

“Jamaican Castor oil. But it really did help with my alopecia.” – corazondemelon

Ashwagandha

“Take Ashwagandha as a supplement! I started taking for anxiety but a nice side effect is more healthy hair.” –iamsunshine78

Regular trims when it’s a full moon

“Trim/cut ends during full moon, ideally at midnight (I can’t stay up that late so as close as I can get).” – daleitzy

Coconut oil

“Jamaican castor/coconut oil when your hair is super dirty and a couple of hours before you wash it. Then argan oil after you have washed your hair and it’s still wet or damp.” –angiemhrndz

Rice water

“Fermented rice water.” – butterflydreams__

Prenatals

“Shampoo de ajo and prenatals.”- cynth.iaaa_

Collagen powder

“Collagen powder (unflavored) in my coffee every morning!” – pandacandee

Onions

“Rosemary water and onion hair mask.” –daniela.sp

Wild growth hair oil

“Wild growth hair oil you can find this oil at any beauty supply store.” –bonita_mantiago

Biotin

“Taking biotin pills daily.” – officialdarlin

Mayonaise

“Mayo in my deep conditioner i make my own makes my hair so soft.” –erika_kane__

Monat products

“Great hair care! Good for your scalp and hair and it’s already what you do. Monat has great shampoos, conditioners, styling products that are nontoxic, cruelty free, vegan. Would love to help anyone interested with recommendations.” – claudia__moreno__

Avocados

“My mamá always said that eating lots of avocados would promote hair and nail growth. Tbh I think it definitely helps!” – mandamonqiue

Rosemary

“A blended hair serum with Olive oil, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Oregano, Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint oil.” – thekittylounge

Spinach

“Spinach helps my hair grow.” – natalidamasphoto

Apple cider

“I have to add that garlic works magic and apple cider after washing your hair. And not washing your hair everyday with hot water.” – bonita_mantiago

Mamey oil

“I highly recommended castor oil, mamey oil, and ginger and onion 🧅 in the shampoo. They all work magic if you consistently apply them to your hair.” – bonita_mantiago

Olive oil

“Olive oil in your hair for shine and growth & mayonnaise mask to help with hydration and shine!” – d_amoree

Braids

“Braiding your hair before bed.” – veixaley

Cold-pressed oils

“Both my parents have thin hair my dad is bald! I have thin hair it’s in my genes. But these are the things I have tried that didn’t work cold-pressed castor oil, prenatal pills, not washing daily, biotin, collagen, mane and tail, tio nacho shampoo and I’m sure there is more. I started using Monat about 4 months ago and my hair has thickened and grown yes it’s super expensive I use the black shampoo and conditioner the mousse and hair spray and occasionally the root lifter if I want more volume!! NO I don’t sell it!! And I already have a person I buy it from!!! Again it’s hella expensive but it is working for me! Also when you first get it be patient cause I was like this stuff sucks I want my money back but the agent just keep saying give it time cause at first the shampoo didn’t even sud up now it does and if you are still using other products with them it won’t sud up as much either cause it is trying to remove the toxins from your hair!!!” – cindy_adame_cervantes

Fewer shampoo days

“Stop over-washing your hair. This quarantine has allowed the to go longer days without washing it. Now I only was my hair once a week and my hair has stopped falling in chunks and grown so much in length in a year. Ohhh I also have so much new baby hair! Waiiiit and my hair is less oily. Dry shampoo will be your new bestie.” –

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