You may have read the headlines a few days ago when a flight attendant allegedly reported on Instagram that she was being held hostage in a hotel in Jamaica and was worried about her personal safety. She wound up convincing somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people that she was being held against her will and was concerned about being trafficked.
As it turned out, that wasn’t what was happening at all.
New York resident Kalina Collier, a flight attendant for Jetblue, arrived in Jamaica on January 28th, and was scheduled to depart on February 1st.
On Saturday, January 30, Collier did an antigen test that came up positive. She took another test a short while later and it was negative. Just to be sure, the Ministry of Health and Wellness recommended she take PCR test on February 2; it also came back positive.
The health ministry told her to quarantine for 14 days, to follow Jamaica’s COVID rules. It would also satisfy U.S. requirements, since our COVID-19 protocols wouldn’t allow her to enter the United States with a positive result, anyway.
Collier was staying at the Ocean Coral Spring hotel. They graciously offered to allow her to stay for the 14 days at no extra cost, so she wouldn’t have to stay at a government facility.
On February 4th, Collier went on Instagram Live to “tell her story” to her 11,000 followers. In the video (which is no longer available) she claimed that she was being held hostage by the hotel. She then asked her followers to call the local embassy, immigration authorities in the United States and news stations in New York and make them aware of her situation.
“You guys [Ocean Coral Spring] are getting money from the government to say that you handled COVID-19 correctly and I’m over it. Yes, they tried to traffic me. I’m suing the pants off this place,” it was said she said on Instagram.
She also apparently claimed that she was being deprived of food and that the hotel employees had put hidden cameras in her room (which turned out to be sprinklers).
Her video went viral and was seen by over 100,000 viewers. But meanwhile, she was fine.
“For one, she is not missing; she is safe and is being extended all the courtesies of the hotel team. She receives room service daily for all meals; and has direct contact with the medical provider in resort – Hospiten; and she has contact with the local public-health representative for Trelawny,” Tanesha Clarke, director of sales for Ocean Coral Spring, told Jamaica-based newspaper The Gleaner.
A few days later, on February 8th, Collier confessed that nothing she had said was true. She hadn’t been kidnapped and wasn’t being held hostage.
Thanks for your concern. The missing allegation of my mother and I is false.
She was released from quarantine on February 14th and flew home. She also posted the following update to her Instagram:
To everyone that’s Been following my story and giving genuine support, I appreciate it. I have said a long time ago that I was never missing, nor was I kidnapped. I’ve tried to stay silent because this is something that will be handled legally and because the response to my situation was completely overwhelming. Following my negative covid test, the hotel proceeded to cover their tracks once word got out and force me to stay at the resort for the remainder of my “quarantine”. Every single day I was harassed by the hotel to make a statement, to save face for them. To basically make it seem like everything I said was a lie. I am here to say that nothing I said in my live was a lie. These people will say anything to save face. They leaked the phone number of my friends who were on the trip with me, as well as my mothers. I understand that I went live and reached out for help, but my story is now beginning to be told for me and I won’t have that. I have said multiple times publicly that UI was not missing. They sent the police to m at the resort to try and intimidate me into making a statement for a resort that wrong me form the beginning. When we arrived at the airport a lady named Odette Dire, who is a part of Jamaican Tourism, who has been harassing my mother and I every single day, approached us after following us to the airport, and demanded a statement, after we’ve told her no over 30 times. She proceeded to take unwarranted photos of my mother and I. She was trying to force me to say that my live was fake. My family and friends were harassed by numerous trolls and disgusting, sick people on the internet. I know my truth and I don’t need the approval of any here or anywhere. The proof is in the pudding and I have nothing further to say on this situation. For those who were actually concerned, thank you.
The rest of the story
On February 16th, Chief Executive Officer of JetBlue Airways, Robin Hayes, issued an apology to the Jamaican Government and the people of Jamaica for Collier’s actions.
Said Edmund Bartlett, a representative for the Ministry of Tourism, “I was very heartened by the discussion I had with Mr Hayes earlier today. His apology to our Prime Minister; the Government; members of the tourism team and the people of Jamaica, for the concern and frustration the incident has caused, was well received. We know that the actions of the employee are in no way a reflection of the standards of Jetblue.”
As for Kalina Collier? She was fired. From the Jamaica Observer:
Manager of Corporate Communications at JetBlue, Derek Dombriowski has confirmed that Kalina Collier, the flight attendant who faked her kidnapping while staying in Jamaica, has been fired.
In a statement moments ago, Dombriowski said, “We hold each JetBlue crewmember to the highest standards when it comes to personal integrity. After an investigation, the crewmember in question is no longer with JetBlue.”
“We continue to offer our apologies for the frustration and concern this incident has caused and reiterate our confidence in the health protocols Jamaica has put in place,” Dombriowski added.
I don’t think anyone can be surprised about this, do you?
Feature Photo: Ocean Coral Spring
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#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary