DELAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Trisha Barker and Debbie Hartman have regrets. The sisters missed the chance to tell their dying dad they loved him.
“I just wanted to console him and let him know it was gonna be OK. And I wanted to hold him and I wanted to hug him,” Barker said.
Their story wouldn’t have made headlines without an episode on an airplane that went viral via a YouTube video. It had been viewed more than 41,000 times since January 4. Now, the sisters want to tell everyone who has responded to their story: “Thank you.”
“I want everyone to know how much we appreciate their concern. It's the good part about it,” Hartman said.
The women were on-board an Allegiant Airlines flight from Orlando to Asheville, North Carolina last week. Their father, Robert Tool, was dying of cancer and they wanted to say “good-bye.”
The plane was stuck on the tarmac when the sisters found out Tool wouldn’t make it through the night. Barker said she switched seats to sit next to Hartman, then stretched across the aisle to comfort her. The women say the flight attendant told Barker to get back in her seat.
“I said, ‘I am in my seat. We just found out my father's dying,’” Barker said. “And she said to me, you have to keep your personal problems off the plane.”
“I said, ‘You're being very rude. ‘ She said, ‘I'm doing my job,’” Barker continued. “And I said, ‘If you don't have any compassion for others maybe you're in the wrong job.’”
The sisters say the next think they knew the plane was back at the gate and police were walking down the aisle.
“I said [to the man next to me], ‘We're going to get kicked off,’” Hartman said. “He said, ‘You're not going anywhere, you haven't done anything,’” she continued.
The women were kicked off the plane.
"I thought: what are people going to say? This is horrible,” Hartman said.
Their dad died just a few hours later.