May 1, 2013
All he wanted was a soda. Now a 52-year-old California executive is asking for half a million dollars from airline Virgin America.
Salvatore Bevivino of San Francisco, California filed the $500,000 lawsuit against the airline company last week not because he was never brought the soft drink he requested during a flight home from Philadelphia in April 2012. Bevivino, rather, is asking Virgin to pay him back for the embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, mental anguish, emotional distress and damage to his professional reputation he says he encountered as a result of what happened next.
Bevivino is making a big stink after he was questioned for allegedly failing to flush an airline toilet after taking care of business in the middle of the 3,000 mile flight.
According to court papers, Bevivino asked for a soda during an April 28, 2012 flight but was told by an attendant that drinks would have to be purchased using the touch-screen panel on the back of the seat in front of him. Bevivino allegedly inquired with another attendant and stayed thirsty until a third person eventually aided with his request. Once the flight landed, though, he finally had the airline’s full attention.
Bevivino’s attorneys say their client exited the flight upon arriving in San Francisco but quickly caught the attention of the plane’s captain. Bevivino was pulled aside “as a person of suspicion,” court filings allege, and was then asked about his altercation with the flight attendants over the soft drink. Bevivino rejected the captain’s claims that he yelled obscenities at the crew while arguing over the beverage, but that wasn’t the last of the crew’s complaints. Around a half-dozen uniformed police officers, FBI and TSA agents were called to remove Bevivino from the plane, but not before the captain questioned him over his bathroom etiquette.
According to a police report obtained by Philly.com, a flight attendant had this to say about Bevivino’s behavior after one of his attempts to acquire a soft drink:
“[He] came back out with a smile on his face and began using profanities. [Name redacted] passed by the restroom and saw that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet.”
Virginia America spokesperson Jennifer Thomas has since reached out to Huffington Post saying, “While we generally do not comment on the details of ongoing litigation, we are aware of the incident in question, we have reviewed our internal crew reports and we are confident our teammates handled this matter appropriately.”