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Peace Begins with Me

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Mom of Girl With Autism Who Was Kicked Off Plane Speaks Out

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PHOTO: Donna Beegles daughter, 15-year-old Juliette.

PHOTO: Donna Beegle’s daughter, 15-year-old Juliette.

Donna Beegle is speaking out after she says a commercial flight made an emergency landing to kick her family off the plane because she was traveling with her autistic daughter.

Although the captain did not speak to the Beegles, he landed the plane before reaching its final destination in Portland, Oregon, and asked police officers to remove 15-year-old Juliette and her family because he wasn’t “comfortable” having her aboard, Beegle said.

“That hurt. That took my breath,” Beegle said. “She shouldn’t be treated like that.”

uliette has trouble communicating verbally, so she moves her hands, makes noises and cries when she wants her family to know she’s uncomfortable. She was having problems on the flight because she doesn’t eat cold food, Beegle said. First, there was only one thing on the menu that was hot, but it arrived cold. Then, the flight attendants refused to give Juliette hot food from first class, but she was hungry.

“I was so frustrated,” Beegle said. “I was like, ‘I’m trying to prevent a meltdown here, if you could, so help us out.’ I said, ‘When she melts down and she’s upset, that’s when you’re gonna wanna help her.'”

Finally, they did. After getting some rice and jambalaya, Juliette sat quietly watching a movie, Beegle said. About 25 minutes later, the plane landed and paramedics boarded and left. Then, police officers boarded and asked them to leave.

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