Monica Gilliam says she was scared and anxious after her 12-year-old daughter had been left wandering in Miami International Airport alone.
On July 2, the Tennessee mother put her daughter Kimber on a flight from Chattanooga to Miami as an unaccompanied minor to visit her father.
A flight attendant was supposed to escort the child to her father once she landed. She was also given a lanyard and wristband with her dad’s information.
“They should have walked her to the gate and handed her off to her dad only after checking his ID to match with the information I gave them,” Gilliam said.
But, the mother says that didn’t happen.
Gilliam says the 12-year-old was left alone, wandering through the airport for about 30 minutes.
“The thought that someone could have taken her is terrible,” she said. “I’m still having bad dreams about it.”
She says Kimber called her father who used FaceTime to help her read the signs so she could find him.
She says the airline didn’t realize the girl was missing until about an hour after she landed and had already found her father on her own.
“The manager of American Airlines in Miami called me and said ‘your child is missing,’” Gilliam said.
The mother posted the terrifying experience on TikTok. The video went viral with more than one million views.
“I posted the video to help others, to keep kids safe,” she said.
American Airlines sent NBC 6 the following statement:
“American cares deeply about our young passengers and is committed to providing a safe and pleasant travel experience for them. We take these matters very seriously and are looking into what occurred. A member of our team has reached out to the customer to learn more about their experience.”
Gilliam says the airline tried to offer them free flights and limo service, but she’s rejected every offer.
“We want American Airlines to tighten up their policies and put more training in place so this doesn’t happen again,” she said.