Maribel Martinez, a Manhattan mom, blasts Jet Blue for losing her 5-year-old son, Andy Mercado, during an international flight from the Dominican Republic.
(Jesse Ward/for New York Daily News)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, September 12, 2016, 4:00 AM
JetBlue lost her son, and now they’re trying to buy her off.
The airline allegedly tried to pull a fast one on Maribel Martinez, who lawyered up after experiencing the nightmare last month, offering her a “gift” of $ 10,000 without consulting the mom’s lawyer.
Two days after the shocking story appeared on the Sept. 1 front page of the Daily News of how JetBlue put Martinez’s 5-year-old son Andy on the wrong flight in the Dominican Republic — and he was missing for hours while she waited at Kennedy Airport to learn his whereabouts — Martinez received a phone call out of the blue.
The incoming phone number was JetBlue’s corporate headquarters in Queens, and the caller identified herself as an airline supervisor named Joanne, according to Martinez.
Joanne spoke English, and there was someone at JetBlue translating for Martinez, who only speaks Spanish.
“She (Joanne) apologized for what happened and said she was a mother, too, and felt bad about what happened,” Martinez told The News through a translator.
A 5-year-old Manhattan boy returning home alone from a family visit in the Dominican Republic was placed on the wrong JetBlue flight.
(Obtained by Daily News)
“They wanted to give me a gift of $ 10,000 for what happened.”
Martinez heard the Spanish word “regalo,” which means gift, and immediately cut off the conversation.
“I said, ‘I have a lawyer and we didn’t need to speak any further. Contact my lawyer,’ ” Martinez said. “I felt bad, like they were trivializing the matter.”
JetBlue had not apologized to Martinez on Aug. 17 when clueless airline employees presented her with a little boy they thought was her son — but wasn’t. It turned out Andy had been placed on a flight to Boston and was mixed up with the boy who ended up at Kennedy Airport.
Martinez’s lawyer Sanford Rubenstein said what occurred is “unethical” and he suspects that JetBlue was trying to get his client to sign a document releasing the airline from any damages to her or Andy in exchange for the payoff.
Front page of the New York Daily News for September 1, 2016: A 5-year-old boy returning home alone from a family visit in the Dominican Republic was placed on the wrong flight.
(New York Daily News)
Rubenstein fired off a letter to JetBlue’s general counsel Joanne Geraghty, ordering the airline not to have any contact with Martinez.
An airline spokesman declined to comment on the call or whether the caller was in fact Geraghty.
Martinez’s son returned home Friday from a followup trip to visit relatives — but the airline that brought him back was Delta.
Martinez said that after what happened, she has no plans to use a $ 2,100 JetBlue credit.