DOCUMENT: Funny, Revolting

Flier Says He Was Detained Over Unflushed Toilet

Man says flight attendant triggered detainment by cops

Plane Toilet

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Plane Bathroom Suit

APRIL 29--A California businessman is suing Virgin America airlines, claiming that he was improperly detained by police after flight attendants reported that he did not flush an airplane toilet and quarreled with them over the purchase of a soft drink.

In a U.S. District Court complaint, Salvatore Bevivino, 52, alleged that he was “taken into custody against his will” last April as he sought to disembark from a flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco. Bevivino said he was detained by six “uniformed officers” and taken to a room where he was questioned.

Bevivino, seen at right, was detained after a Virgin America captain told investigators that the passenger “was using profanities and not listening to instructions from the flight,” according to a San Francisco Police Department report. However, the captain added, “at no time did he or his flight crew feel threatened regarding this passenger.”

A flight attendant told cops that Bevivino argued with her over the ordering of a soda via a computer touchscreen. “My time is precious, you are here to serve me,” Bevivno said, according to the flight attendant.

Following the soda confrontation, the flight attendant told police, Bevivino “went to the restroom, came back out with a smile on his face and began using profanities.” When the flight attendant passed by the lavatory, she “saw that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet.”

Bevivino, a Genentech executive, denied cursing “during his brief 2 minute exchange with the crew regarding the soft drink order,” adding that he was released from custody after an officer concluded that “the matter seemed to be a customer service issue.”

In his lawsuit, Bevivino surmises that he was a victim of in-flight profiling on the part of flight crew members. Describing himself as of “Italian ancestry,” Bevivino noted that he “is of dark complexion and could be mistaken for being from the Middle East because of his appearance.”

Bevivino’s lawsuit seeks a minimum of $500,000 in damages for causing him, among other things, “apprehension, embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, fright, shock, mental anguish and emotional distress.” (6 pages)