Last fall, ahead of an emergency trip home from college, 21-year-old Belen Aldecosa called Spirit twice to make sure it was cool that she bring along her tiny pet, which had been certified by a doctor as an emotional support animal, according the The Miami Herald. The airline mistakenly told her Pebbles was allowed, but when she showed up to the airport with Pebbles in a small cage, she faced a serious dilemma: A Spirit employee broke the news that rodents actually weren't allowed on the company's planes.
Her friends and family were hours away at school and wouldn't be able to fetch the animal in time for her, so she pushed her flight back and tried renting a car, but was denied because of her age. That's when, she claims, a Spirit employee suggested either setting Pebbles free outside or flushing it down a toilet. She hated the idea of her freezing in the cold or getting smushed by a car outside more, so she opted for the latter option.
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea said in an interview. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
And then, in an instant, Pebbles went to the big ol' hamster wheel in the... bowels of the Baltimore International Airport septic system.