Belen Aldecosea used to have a dwarf hamster that served as her emotional support animal. Then she tried to fly Spirit, which would not let her hamster on the plane. Then she claims a Spirit employee told her to flush the rodent down the toilet. Then Aldecosea—for reasons privy only to her—flushed that hamster down the toilet.
The story, first reported by the Miami Herald, is the latest chapter in the ongoing war between passengers and the airlines that ostensibly exist to serve them. Coming on the heels of the emotional support peacock debacle, it certainly raises eyebrows.
But I’m not Aldecosea, who tells the Herald that her hamster, Pebbles, “was so loving. It was like she knew I needed somebody.” After she arrived at the airport with her furry friend in tow, she claims, a Spirit employee checked her in with no mention of the hamster, which was reportedly in a carry-on-size cage. Then a second employee chased her down to inform her that Pebbles was criceta non grata on Spirit planes. This was a problem as Aldecosea had no easy way of transporting the hamster back to her school campus or to a friend’s.
That’s when the stories of Aldecosea and Spirit stop lining up. Aldecosea claims a Spirit employee suggested she let the hamster out outdoors, or flush it down the toilet. Spirit insists it did no such thing.
Whether Aldecosea got the idea from a Spirit employee, a random passerby, or elsewhere, she ultimately did just walk into an airport bathroom and flush her emotional support animal down the toilet.
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet. I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall,” says Aldecosea. Because, you know, she flushed her hamster down the toilet in the airport. Apparently, there were zero issues with waterflow or blockage. Apparently, there was no one she could ask to take on a hamster. Apparently, there was no way to put the hamster in her pocket and smuggle it on board.
The staggering tale truly baffles the mind. Did some monster really tell a young woman to flush her beloved emotional support animal down the toilet? Was flushing the poor Pebbles really the only conceivable option? Did Pebbles possibly survive? Why is life so cruel? Can someone please give me a hug?!?
Alas, Aldecosea has now retained the services of an attorney and is considering filing a lawsuit against Spirit, which continues to deny it told her to flush but does admit it originally, erroneously, told her the hamster was allowed on board.
So, uh, I guess don’t trust airlines. And if you’re flying with a pet, always have someone waiting by security to spirit it away less you end up spiriting it to the john.