Lice on a Plane

At  MadCaps, our lice removal salon, we often hear sad stories about embarrassment and stigma associated with head lice, but our story this week takes the cake. Fasten your seatbelt and keep reading.

Daisy is a cute 6 year old who goes to a progressive private school in Austin,TX.  At a routine head check for lice, the school nurse found lice in Daisy’s hair and sent her home. Her parents brought her to MadCaps for lice removal. Daisy was unfazed by having lice (a typical kid reaction). We treated her for lice and she  enjoys her salon experience.  We give her a note to return to school lice-free.  Her parents are lovely and want to make sure she is “sans lice” because she will soon be travelling all by herself to Los Angeles to see her Grandma and Auntie.

The day after Daisy gets to LA, MadCaps received a heartbreaking phone call from her mom. Daisy is traumatized because of some really unprofessional and insensitive grown ups she encountered on her solo flight.  It seems that once she was safely on the plane, Daisy struck up a conversation with her seatmate.  It wasn’t long before she told the adult that she had just been treated for lice…Uh oh.

A series of unfortunate events and bad decisions followed Daisy’s innocent announcement.  The person sitting next to her on the plane loudly informed the flight attendant “this child has lice!” (which was untrue, she’d been treated).  Next the flight attendant ran to the cockpit and alarmed the pilot that LICE (not a terrorist or tuberculosis) was on the plane.  The pilot radioed in to LAX and demanded that the girl’s grandmother be at the gate waiting to explain how such a child could have been put on a plane.  Daisy was escorted off the plane by a latex glove wearing flight attendant acting as if she’d been exposed to Ebola. The pilot gave poor Grandma a dressing down.  Poor Daisy was ashamed and demoralized.

Instead of a fun vacation with her relatives, Daisy had an unforgettably horrible flight experience. It got worse on the ground as her auntie and grandma called back to Austin with accusations and fear of lice. It took a phone call from MadCaps to calm her aunt down and convince her that her family wasn’t at risk since Daisy had been TREATED!

Daisy’s parents did the right thing. They were alerted to the problem and immediately came and had the problem solved! At her follow-up check, Daisy remained lice free but was a different kid. MadCaps was no longer a fun place to take care of her pesky problem while sipping chocolate milk and watching iCarly. It was a reminder of her trip filled with alarmist grown ups that let her down due to their own ignorance.

Part of our mission at MadCaps is to increase education and reduce stigma about head lice.  We have our work cut out for us…