She could have called Verizon and said "I have a Dell computer with Ubuntu and cannot use my Verizon DSL CD. How can I get online?"
When the Dell rep told her that she can do everything she needs to do on this computer (ie, create Word docs), she could have asked "How do I do that?"
She did neither (correct me if I'm wrong; I read the article yesterday), and instead called the local media to whine about it. She followed the advice of the "expert" but failed to ask how; that's a lack of problem solving skills, IMO.