FRESNO, Calif. -- For Tepa Scanlan, being with her wounded husband has been a priority. The travel to hospitals in Houston and Los Angeles for her and their six children was made easier by the fact she worked for American Airlines and had been eligible for some free flights.
But the free flights ended when she took medical leave.
Her co-worker, Lita Thompson, offered her personal buddy passes to help Scanlan travel to LA.
"You know it really helped her out a lot," Thompson said. "That drive back and forth was killing her."
But Thompson got into trouble. It seems giving passes to employees on leave is against the airline's rules.
Thompson says she "got called in by my manager, and he asked if I was giving my buddy pass to anybody who was on leave and I said, 'Yes, I am giving them to Tepa Scanlan.' And he pretty much had me write a statement, and that was pretty much it. Three-week suspension and we will give you a call, that was it."
Then she says she was fired.
"They called me in, and I was terminated," Thompson said.
Thompson says she was not aware of the buddy pass sharing rule.
Scanlan is back to driving. She spends a week at a time with her husband at an LA treatment facility.
"Right now, it is a hardship. Driving back and forth it is tiring, exhausting," she said.
Her husband, Malama, was shot in the head in 2016 in the lobby of a Fresno County Jail. A correctional officer, he rushed to the aid of a female officer, Juanita Davilla, who was also shot by the same gunman. Davilla is still recovering at home. Malama will need treatment for many years to come.
Scanlan cannot comment on the airline issue. She is on medical leave but is still employed by American Airlines.
She told us her husband is making progress, "Every day has its challenges, and there are good days, and today he was okay."
We reached out to American Airlines for comment on Thompson's firing. A company spokesman said he would look into the issue and get back to us.