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Quadriplegic Passenger Forced Off Frontier Flight
www.thedenverchannel.com ^ | POSTED: 11:05 pm MDT June 19, 2011 UPDATED: 1:15 pm MDT June 20, 2011 | Jaclyn Allen and Alan Gathright

Posted on 06/20/2011 12:42:46 PM PDT by Red Badger

DENVER -- A quadriplegic man from Fort Collins was forced off a Frontier Airlines plane because a pilot said it wasn't safe for him to fly.

His mother, Kathleen Morris, said there was no problem two days earlier when her son flew Frontier from Denver International Airport to Dallas to attend a family wedding.

But Sunday afternoon, when he boarded in Dallas to come home, John Morris and his family said they were humiliated.

"When a flight attendant saw John strapped in, they said they would have to clear it with the captain," said Kathleen Morris.

She said that her son is a quadriplegic with limited upper body control.

Morris has flown Frontier Airlines in the past, using an airline seat-belt extension to secure his chest and legs to the seat. The extension is normally used by larger passengers who need a longer seat belt to secure their waist.

"But this time, the pilot refused to take off," she said. "So, I said that we wouldn't get off the plane until they figured it out."

Fellow passenger Denny Cannon was seated nearby and overheard that Frontier couldn't use its equipment for medical purposes.

So, he and other upset passengers, offered to help.

"Me and other passengers said, 'Well, sure, use our belts and we'll somehow restrain him and then you won't be using Frontier products," Cannon recalled.

But in the end, to the dismay of other passengers, Frontier called airport police. Three police officers boarded the plane.

The officers told the pilot this was not a law enforcement matter.

"It looks like he's safely restrained," an officer said, according to Kathleen Morris. "This is not an issue for us, because he's not posing a problem for the plane or other passengers."

The captain again refused to take off with Morris onboard.

"He cannot fly. I want him off this plane," the pilot said, according to Kathleen Morris.

"It was humiliating," the mother said. "The officers kept apologizing to me and to John and kept saying, 'This is wrong.'"

A snowboarding accident five years ago left John Morris paralyzed.

The 24-year-old Colorado State University student said he couldn't believe how he was treated on the plane, and he was sorry for the delay the incident caused.

"I felt horrible," he said. "I just felt like I didn't belong. I haven't felt that bad since the accident."

"It really broke my heart, because I know what John goes through on a day to day basis, not being able to do things that he certainly would like to, just wanting the opportunity to travel," Kathleen Morris said.

Other passengers wondered why Frontier didn't have policies established for accommodating people with disabilities.

"It was very demoralizing and dehumanizing. It should have been dealt with at the gate, not after he was already boarded," said one passenger.

Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuk said the pilot was concerned for the safety of Morris and uncertain whether the seat-belt extension could be used to restrain his legs and torso.

The captain has the ultimate decision on issues regarding passenger safety on a plane, he said.

However, Frontier arranged for the Morris family to take the next flight, and the pilot on that plane had no issues with transporting the disabled man.

"So, one pilot thought that it would not be safe. And another pilot … apparently thought it would not be a threat to anybody's safety," Kowalchuk said.

He said that Federal Aviation Administration and Frontier regulations are unclear on whether the seat-belt extension can be used to restrain a disabled passenger.

"It will require clarity moving forward," he added.

When a passenger has to leave a flight, an incident report is issued, Kowalchuck said.

"I'm sure that this (incident report) will be reviewed, and I'm sure that there will be consideration given to how this was handled," the spokesman said.

Steve Cowell, an aviation safety consultant, told 7NEWS the pilot should have called airline managers for advice on handling the issue.

"It was completely inappropriate of this captain to escalate ... the situation to the level that he did by calling the police," Cowell said. "It really tells me that this captain did not know how to utilize all the resources available to him."

The Morris family told 7NEWS on Sunday night, when they arrived from Dallas that they are now planning legal action.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; US: Colorado; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: aircraft; aviation; frontierairlines; travel
VIDEO AT LINK.................
1 posted on 06/20/2011 12:42:51 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

Like this guy doesn’t have enough problems!!


2 posted on 06/20/2011 12:44:42 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Red Badger

The ADA suit is all but automatic.


3 posted on 06/20/2011 12:46:13 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Herman Cain 2012)
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To: Red Badger

Not a pilot, he was the Captain. The Captain has the authority to take off or not. There must be other things going on here. I fly Frontier frequently and have seen handicapped people, there has never been an issue.


4 posted on 06/20/2011 12:46:57 PM PDT by svcw (Non forgiveness is like holding a hot coal thinking the other person will be blistered)
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To: Red Badger

Another airline I won’t be flying.


5 posted on 06/20/2011 12:48:17 PM PDT by fatnotlazy
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To: svcw

The family was put on the next flight and that captain had no problems. The original captain must be an idiot...........


6 posted on 06/20/2011 12:49:21 PM PDT by Red Badger (Nothing is a 'right' if someone has to give it to you................)
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To: Red Badger

You throw enough seat belt extension/restraints on him plus a bunch of duct tape and he won’t go anywhere out of that seat.


7 posted on 06/20/2011 12:50:12 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Red Badger

The Captain of the plane is the end all and be all of authority for what is safe on his flight because he is 100% responsible for that plane, her crew, and her passengers once it backs away from the gate.

If a Captain has a doubt then the plane doesn’t fly.

Sensitivities and political correctness do not apply when it comes to some things.


8 posted on 06/20/2011 12:55:07 PM PDT by MeganC (NO WAR FOR OIL! ........except when a Democrat's in charge.)
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To: Red Badger

The captain has the ultimate decision on issues regarding passenger safety on a plane

Period, end of sentence.

Flying isn’t a right, and you fly on a Captain’s aircraft at his discretion. It is in the Federal Air Regulations, spelled out very clearly.

This passenger shouldn’t have been carried the first time, he should have flown on an “air ambulance” flight. Those aircraft are staffed and equipped to handle passengers in this condition.


9 posted on 06/20/2011 12:55:07 PM PDT by wrench
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To: Jack Hydrazine

sure, he won’t go anywhere out of that seat....and then there is an emergency and passengers need to be evacuated ....

I’m giving the Captain some benefit of the doubt that HE has the authority to make the call about what he believes is safe for passengers on HIS plane


10 posted on 06/20/2011 12:55:23 PM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: freedumb2003
"The ADA suit is all but automatic."

He doesn't have a leg to stand on.

sorry.

11 posted on 06/20/2011 12:55:25 PM PDT by jessduntno (Liberalism is socialism in a party dress. And just as masculine.)
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To: jessduntno

>>He doesn’t have a leg to stand on.<<

Floodgates are now officially open...

They should have told the pilot they were just transporting Art.

(neither of us is going to Heaven, are we?)


12 posted on 06/20/2011 12:59:35 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Herman Cain 2012)
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To: wrench
Flying isn’t a right, and you fly on a Captain’s aircraft at his discretion. It is in the Federal Air Regulations, spelled out very clearly. This passenger shouldn’t have been carried the first time, he should have flown on an “air ambulance” flight. Those aircraft are staffed and equipped to handle passengers in this condition.

I wonder why they don't have specially equipped aircraft for certain passengers who happen to be Maniacal Murdering Moslems?

13 posted on 06/20/2011 1:00:39 PM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER (Celebrate "Republicans freed the Slaves Month")
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To: silverleaf

since he is a quad in the even of a crash he still won’t be going anywhere since he can’t move his legs or arms. Even if he gets loose from his seat in the crash and is blocking the way out the other passengers will just kick him to the side in the panic of it all.

Once they calm down they’ll all ask where the Duct Tape boy is.


14 posted on 06/20/2011 1:01:49 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Red Badger

Personally, I hate to second guess an authority that is responsible for safety when they choose the conservative route. Would passengers have been angry with the captain of the Titanic if he took a longer route? Probably.

We have no idea of the sum total of the multiple considerations that the pilot may have synthesized to arrive at his conclusion, weather, experience of crew, number of passengers, flight length, other passengers needing assistance, his own crews concerns etc. We give this man the responsibility to decide rather than using a computer program because no two situations will be the same.


15 posted on 06/20/2011 1:04:28 PM PDT by Raycpa
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To: silverleaf

I’m giving the Captain some benefit of the doubt that HE has the authority to make the call about what he believes is safe for passengers on HIS plane

I’ll do the same, and then I’ll inject the fact that he appears to be a heartless ash whole, without a concern for passengers, or the company he works for. He mishandled the entire situation IMHO and should be explaining his lack of tact and courtesy to management, who can then decide if they want his brand of company representation.


16 posted on 06/20/2011 1:09:21 PM PDT by wita
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To: wrench
Flying isn’t a right, and you fly on a Captain’s aircraft at his discretion.

True. But I doubt the decision of the captain not to fly someone insulates the airline from a lawsuit.

17 posted on 06/20/2011 1:10:31 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Join the AFL-CIO. The Communist Party needs new blood.)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

>>You throw enough seat belt extension/restraints on him plus a bunch of duct tape and he won’t go anywhere out of that seat.<<

I am trying to picture how they put that into the safety briefing....


18 posted on 06/20/2011 1:10:44 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Herman Cain 2012)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

“duct tape boy”

Oh, you is bad Mist Rhett

But seriously I suppose the airlines are to be commended for allowing near-totally disabled passengers to fly, with presumably only family members as personal aides

I suspect it was the lack of an appproved seatbelt that was the problem, and for an emergency and evacuation, this pilot thought it could be a problem

Frontier liable to get sued if they do, or if they don’t
Family is acting like Frontier put this guy in a wheelchair
Life happens, sometimes it sucks, Get over it


19 posted on 06/20/2011 1:11:20 PM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: MeganC
.... If a Captain has a doubt then the plane doesn’t fly. ....

You are quite correct. But if I were his employer I'd have to look at his decision here in light of what all the other pilots have done for this young man in deciding as to whether he has the ability to make these kind of calls for the airline and their passenger customers. As his employer I might come to the conclusion that he doesn't have the correct temperament to be a pilot for the airline. If he blew a call like this how might he react under some real pressure.

20 posted on 06/20/2011 1:11:43 PM PDT by Ron H. (The world may change but Gods word and commandments remain the same.)
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To: Red Badger

>>>The Morris family told 7NEWS on Sunday night, when they arrived from Dallas that they are now planning legal action.

Insert sound effect of slot-machine payoff....

The pilot is an ignoramus. Should undergo remedial training in the transport of people with disabilities. Then should apologize in person to Morris.


21 posted on 06/20/2011 1:13:38 PM PDT by Keith in Iowa (FR Class of 1998 | TV News is an oxymoron. | MSNBC = Moonbats Spouting Nothing But Crap.)
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To: wrench

>>Flying isn’t a right, and you fly on a Captain’s aircraft at his discretion. It is in the Federal Air Regulations, spelled out very clearly.<<

I think we have a classic clash of laws here. The state goal of the ADA is to make sure that, as much as possible, the disabled be treated and have access to facilities as much the able-bodied. Of course, we have to deal with “reasonable accommodation” in this case.

I am not an ADA lawyer but have been a witness in some ADA lawsuits (as an administrator in the State of California). Not pretty and not fun. It ain’t gonna be fun for the airline, either.

>>This passenger shouldn’t have been carried the first time, he should have flown on an “air ambulance” flight. Those aircraft are staffed and equipped to handle passengers in this condition.<<

Those things are expensive and I don’t think they are available for pleasure trips. I could be wrong, but I doubt it...


22 posted on 06/20/2011 1:17:59 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Herman Cain 2012)
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To: wita

Since he decided that tying this man’s extremities to the seat with seat belt extensions “might” just hamper an emergency evacuation of both this man, his family, and everyone else around him.... I’ll fly with this heartless ash hole any day, over the second Captain who shrugged and decided to let fate take its course, because what could possibly go wrong....

Name another class of passengers who are permitted to fly if they cannot use the FAA approved safety equipment onboard in the manner for which it was designed.....


23 posted on 06/20/2011 1:18:16 PM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: svcw
Yes, there were other issues. This Captain had AUTHORITY! He used it to browbeat another human being, thereby becoming a big man in his own small mind.

That is the trouble with a little or a lot of authority. Small people use it to cow others. The bureaucracy is full of them.

vaudine

24 posted on 06/20/2011 1:19:37 PM PDT by vaudine
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To: Keith in Iowa

Everything he did was legal, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Sounds like he was on some power trip............


25 posted on 06/20/2011 1:20:04 PM PDT by Red Badger (Nothing is a 'right' if someone has to give it to you................)
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Yes, the captain does have that right as pilot-in-command. However. This is an act of unsound judgment IMHO, and that should cause Frontier to question his fitness for the left seat. He saw only one course of action and I believe that he did not give due consideration to mitigating factors. That kind of tunnel vision, when dealing with passengers, is unfortunate and unpleasant. When dealing with an inflight emergency the consequences can be far more grave in nature.

If his judgment is poor in regard to pax, how might it be when confronted by an engine fire or an autopilot failure on an approach to minimums? I would not choose to fly with him under those circumstances.


26 posted on 06/20/2011 1:27:11 PM PDT by NJRadioGuy (Which part of "shall not be infringed" confuses you?)
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To: NJRadioGuy

“Paging capt moron paging capt moron “

rom frontier terminal loud speakers


27 posted on 06/20/2011 1:47:48 PM PDT by Bidimus1
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To: silverleaf

I suppose one could call it playing the odds. We don’t crash everyday, and airliner crashes are even rarer than others, so rather than make an arrogant stink about it, number 2 did what I would have done. That said, number one was within his authority, he just wasn’t able to sell it, since the passenger had just recently flown the other half of his roundtrip.

The airline pretty much muted number ones decision by allowing number 2 to make his. It’s a judgement call and pilots make them everyday. Not knowing all the circumstances I can’t judge the man completely anyway. Armchair pilot is easy, but pilots do it anyway to stay in practice.


28 posted on 06/20/2011 1:52:24 PM PDT by wita
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To: silverleaf
"Name another class of passengers who are permitted to fly if they cannot use the FAA approved safety equipment onboard in the manner for which it was designed....."
people over 450 pounds have to use extensions....
29 posted on 06/20/2011 1:53:14 PM PDT by joe fonebone (Project Gunwalker, this will make watergate look like the warm up band......)
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To: Bidimus1

“It was completely inappropriate of this captain to escalate ... the situation to the level that he did by calling the police,”

Guess he saw the guy as a real threat............


30 posted on 06/20/2011 1:57:22 PM PDT by BubbaJunebug
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To: fatnotlazy
We flew Frontier from Phoenix to DC for the 9/12 rally in 2009 and LOVED them. I wouldn't let one negative story tarnish their image.

Mrs. Prince of Space

31 posted on 06/20/2011 2:03:30 PM PDT by Prince of Space ("The problem with quotes on the internet is it's hard to verify their authenticity." Abe Lincoln)
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To: Red Badger

All we have is the version of the story from the Denver media. And those of us from Denver know how thorough and accurate the Denver media is.


32 posted on 06/20/2011 2:15:20 PM PDT by tips up (Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.)
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To: vaudine

“The pilot-in-command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.”FAR 121.535 (d) further states:“Each pilot in command of an aircraft is, during flight time, in command of the aircraft and crew and is responsible for the safety of the passengers, crewmembers, cargo, and airplane.”


33 posted on 06/20/2011 2:27:07 PM PDT by svcw (Non forgiveness is like holding a hot coal thinking the other person will be blistered)
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To: silverleaf
sure, he won’t go anywhere out of that seat....and then there is an emergency and passengers need to be evacuated ....

So in your perfect world, no one with any disabilities could fly. What about children, only one per parent/adult/guardian?

34 posted on 06/20/2011 2:39:59 PM PDT by SengirV
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To: Red Badger
Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuk said the pilot was concerned for the safety of Morris

That is generally understandable. In a crash Morris would be completely helpless.

On the other hand, there are plenty of old passengers who would be equally helpless in such an event. Do you think a 90 y/o grandma has any chance of leaving the wreckage on her own, ripping chairs out of the floor like a cyborg? Why do they fly, then?

There is yet another consideration, however grim. In a crash the people around Mr. Morris can be hurt and become quadriplegic; but Mr. Morris is immune to that danger.

All in all, I think the police this time demonstrated better judgement in supporting the patient's right to fly. They know that life is full of risks, and you can't be ever safe. A quadriplegic person can't stay "safe" locked in his cell room 24/7/365 - travel is one of few ways to live that remain available to him. Tt's the best if he travels among healthy people, not on a special flight that costs a fortune and can be rarely afforded.

35 posted on 06/20/2011 2:45:26 PM PDT by Greysard
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To: Red Badger
He said that Federal Aviation Administration and Frontier regulations are unclear on whether the seat-belt extension can be used to restrain a disabled passenger. "It will require clarity moving forward," he added.

That is the real problem. The Airlines have been hit with incredible fines for "violations" that they did not even know were violations. Most of the violations were in paperwork. The captain of that aircraft most certainly knew he could safely fly with that passenger. The captain of that aircraft most definitely did not know if he would have been in violation of some obscure law that could cause massive fines to his employeer, Frontier Airlines.

Also from what was written in the article we do not know if he would or would not been in violation of FAA rules.

36 posted on 06/20/2011 2:48:10 PM PDT by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist, Iconoclast: THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR.)
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To: Red Badger
He said that Federal Aviation Administration and Frontier regulations are unclear on whether the seat-belt extension can be used to restrain a disabled passenger. "It will require clarity moving forward," he added.

That is the real problem. The Airlines have been hit with incredible fines for "violations" that they did not even know were violations. Most of the violations were in paperwork. The captain of that aircraft most certainly knew he could safely fly with that passenger. The captain of that aircraft most definitely did not know if he would have been in violation of some obscure law that could cause massive fines to his employeer, Frontier Airlines.

Also from what was written in the article we do not know if he would or would not been in violation of FAA rules.

37 posted on 06/20/2011 2:49:45 PM PDT by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist, Iconoclast: THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR.)
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To: silverleaf; All

As usual, some VERY important parts of the story are missing.

What type of aircraft was he denied from, and is it the same type as he flew on before?

Where in the aircraft was he sitting, and would a delay caused by evacuating HIM cause a delay/endanger other pax??

Is he too big for the FA’s to chuck out the door on to the slide in an emergency?? (For Example, imagine trying to chuck a 300lb. quad out of the wing window exit on a 50-passenger commuter jet? And while keeping the other passengers behind him from burning alive?)

In the end, it comes down to the CAPTAIN’S decision. The safety of the aircraft, and the pax are his responsibility, and it’s clearly laid out in the regs.


38 posted on 06/20/2011 2:52:33 PM PDT by tcrlaf (You can only lead a lib to the Truth, you can't make it think...)
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To: wita

“number 2 did what I would have done.”

Unless you were, say..., trapped in a plane that just crash-landed in the Hudson River, stuck behind this guy as the water rises above your waste, as the rear of the aircraft sinks....


39 posted on 06/20/2011 2:56:43 PM PDT by tcrlaf (You can only lead a lib to the Truth, you can't make it think...)
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To: tcrlaf

Well lets have absolute safety.. don’t let the plane in the air then it can’t crash in to the Hudson or anywhere else for that matter.

If the airline only wants perfect physical specimens make it a regimental to buy a ticket that each be so.. oh wait a lot of guys in the gliders on D-day died on impact... and they were all in pretty darn good shape.

There is no excuse none for how this pilot acted.


40 posted on 06/20/2011 3:10:43 PM PDT by Bidimus1
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To: freedumb2003

Floodgates are now officially open...

I feel awful, but someone had to do it.


41 posted on 06/20/2011 10:54:30 PM PDT by jessduntno (Liberalism is socialism in a party dress. And just as masculine.)
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To: Red Badger
The left out the part about the Captain's affinity for strawberries.


42 posted on 06/20/2011 11:05:43 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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