An American Airlines passenger has spoken out about the moment an employee of the airline sent her creepy messages about her appearance and offered her free seats in exchange for a "friendship", NBC7 has reported.
The worker, named only as Ahmad, started to text passenger Ashley Barno as she was waiting to board a flight to Chicago from San Diego International Airport back in April.
Check her phone, Barno was surprised to find a message from an unknown number reading: "Hey, Ashley! How are you?", to which she replied: "I’m good, thank you! Sorry. I’m not sure who this is."Check out Ashley's story in the video below:
A second text then came through to her phone, reading: "BTW I must tell you that you are gorgeous."
Barno later revealed in an interview with NBC7: "The whole time I kept asking him, 'Who are you? How do you know who I am? How’d you get my info?'"[[imagecaption|| Credit: PA Images]]
A third creepy message told Barno that she was "looking gorgeous in that gray top today" - which immediately prompted her to look around her at the boarding gate (probably because it sounds like the opening scene in Scream), however, she couldn't see anyone she knew or recognized.
The mysterious sender then revealed that his name was "Ahmad" and that he worked for American Airlines.
However, it was the following message that made Barno start to feel particularly uncomfortable. After boarding her flight, she received yet another message reading: "I am on board now. Are you going to Chicago too??"
Speaking to NBC7, Barno explained: "Just knowing that he knew what I looked like, and that we were in an enclosed plane and that there’s no way out, like really, really scared me."Related - This passenger was left furious after an airport security worker handed him a note telling him he was 'ugly':
An uncomfortable Barno then attempted to get Ahmad to stop sending the messages, replying: "Not ok! Not cool. Leave me alone."
To which the eager Ahmad attempted to bribe his "friendship" in return for free perks, writing: "Ok it’s up to you, but friendship with me will be very beneficial for you. I can always give you good seats, access to the lounges, and free drinks."
Barno then alerted a member of the plane's crew to the messages. They confirmed Ahmad did indeed work for the airline and that he had behaved in a similar way in the past. Barno described the crew member as "furious" about their coworker's actions, but that they were "amazingly helpful" in resolving the issue.
After landing in Chicago, officials from the airline were onhand to escort Ahmad off the plane.
A distressed Ashley revealed that the experience left her in tears, and that she later found out that Ahmad had gotten her phone number - and home address - form her luggage tag.Related - these cheeky passengers were caught coming out of a cubicle together:
Barno said that she later received a phone call from American Airlines to discuss what had happened, but said the airline refused to reveal whether or not Ahmad had been disciplined or dismissed.
Frustrated by the lack of information, Barno is now taking legal action against the airline and has filed a lawsuit for negligent hiring, sexual harassment, and other alleged wrongdoing.
"He had too much information on people, and what he did was not OK, and not acceptable at all," Barno said.
In a statement to NBC7 an American Airlines spokesperson said:
"American Airlines takes the privacy and safety of our customers very seriously. While we can’t discuss details about this individual case, we investigated the allegations and took appropriate action."