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United Airlines issued an apology on Tuesday after a video emerged showing an elderly man being pushed to the ground by an employee and left unattended.
The surveillance video obtained by NBC's Houston affiliate KPRC from July 2015 shows 71-year-old Ronald Tigner walking up to two United employees, Alejandro Anastasia and Ianthe Phillips-Allred, to request another boarding pass.
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The clip suddenly takes an unexpected turn when Anastasia, a customer service representative according to KPRC, pushes Tigner to the ground. He lays motionless on the floor of the terminal, unattended for nearly a minute, before another passenger rushes to his aid.
Tigner is now suing United Airlines and the two employees in the video for more than $1 million.
According to court documents filed in the suit, the passenger had asked the United employees for a new boarding pass after being turned away by the TSA for having an illegible one. Anastasia and Phillips-Allred allegedly refused, “laughed” and “cursed” at the passenger, before Anastasia pushed him down.
Tigner’s lawyer, William Hoke, claims in an interview with Houston's KPRC that the employees refused to assist the passenger in his request for a new boarding pass because they were “busy,” and that the exchange turned violent after Tigner told Anastasia to “wipe that smile off his face.”
In response to the video, United released a statement that called the employee’s behavior “completely unacceptable,” and assured that he was no longer employed with the airline.
“The conduct shown here does not reflect our values or our commitment to treat all of our customers with respect and dignity,” the statement said. “We are taking a thorough look into what happened here and reaching out to our customer to profusely apologize for what occurred and to make this right.”
The story follows a number of recent controversies involving United, including viral videos showing Dr. David Dao being dragged off a flight and the barring of two girls from a flight for wearing leggings.