Pass man uses airline access problem to promote use of service dogs

Pass man uses airline access problem to promote use of service dogs

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - One week ago, Davis Hawn of Pass Christian and his service dog, Savior, were traveling from New Orleans to Mexico. They stopped off in McAllen, Texas, to see a friend. But when they tried to board an Aeromar flight, they were denied access on board.

They've boarded more than 80 flights without issues. But Aeromar refused passage unless Savior was put in a box.

To Hawn, this is a civil rights fight.

"I would have been glad to ride in the back of Aeromar's bus, AKA, airplane," he said. "What they chose to do was to kick me off the bus all together as a minority, and there's no excuse for that."

After the original story was aired by ABC affiliate KRGV, United Airlines stepped up and took care of the situation. The company paid for his room in McAllen, a rental car, and the room he lost in Mexico because of the no-show.

Hawn is disabled. He has mobility problems from an leg injury, and he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following a near fatal assault. He flies around the world advocating the rights of all disabled people and their use of service dogs.

"The majority of disabled people don't look disabled and they don't have a scarlet letter on their heads saying D for disabled," he said.

Hawn's first dog, Booster, is disabled himself. Savior is his son. Booster helped Hawn when he was at his lowest emotionally.

"He was helping me in ways I couldn't imagine a dog could help," Hawn said. "And finally, I got it, and I realized that this dog has saved my life, changed my life, and it became a passion. And I wake up in the morning with this passion."

If this sounds religious, it is to Hawn.

"A preacher has a Bible. And God gave me a dog."

Hawn took his passion for service dogs to the next level by getting a degree in service dog training.

"I was very grateful that I was the one that it happened to - not a poor person without a credit card who couldn't even have rented a car," he said. "So it's given me once again to reach out and teach."

So, did the airline in Texas pick on the wrong guy?

"I choose to think they picked on the right guy."

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