First of all United was over the top with their mishandling of Dr. Dao’s forced departure by their surrogate bouncers. I will acknowledge that and not defend their actions. Dr. Dao will be substantially rewarded for his inconveniences. But….
The extent of his injuries are purely speculative and gleaned from utterances by the good doctor and his attorneys. There has been no corroborating evidence one way or the other as to the extent of his injuries. But that’s not my point. In one of his statements he posited that his ordeal was worse that that of his experience fleeing Vietnam in a refugee boat. Did he really go through such an ordeal? Perhaps, but I have seen no evidence one way or another. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and agree he had been on such a boat.
I know a woman who (really) went through such an ordeal. Her name is Phung and she fled Vietnam after the collapse in 1975 and was indeed on such a boat. Over the years I have gotten to know her quite well and, over time, she told me bit by bit of her ordeal. She was 13 at the time of her departure from Vietnam and put on the boat by herself. Her family was split up, some making it on board other boats, and some being left behind to suffer the consequences of being “US collaborators”. Their endings were not good as most of us are well aware.
She described her ordeal of going from unknown port to port, country to county, not knowing where, when, and how they would end up. Or if they would end up living at all. Her boat was intermittently invaded by pirates, and everything anyone had of even meager value was stolen. Food was always scarce if available at all.She was repeatedly raped.
Finally, through a series of major and minor miracles, she made it to California and then ultimately up to Oregon. While in Oregon and living with her sponsor family, she met a Vietnamese man who had been through a similar ordeal. They fell in love, got married, and opened up a Vietnamese restaurant and grocery store here. Then had two daughters. Things were going great until this happened:
A 58-year-old Eugene businessman died Sunday night after a 40-foot log rolled over him on the North Jetty beach in Florence, state police said Monday.
Sorry Dr. Dao, but I am simply not shedding a tear over your bloody nose. And your plane trip “worse than leaving Vietnam on a refugee boat".