TSA Was Right to Jail Bad Mom

Andrea AbbottIt sounds like a mom was punished for trying to protect her daughter in a Nashville airport. Andrea Fornella Abbott was taken to jail after throwing a fit over how the TSA was treating her young daughter. A normal mom reaction? Pull out the nail files, moms, those claws aren't necessary.

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Apparently Abbott refused to have her daughter go through the body scanners at the airport and then started screaming at TSA agents that her little girl shouldn't have her "crotch grabbed." But it's Abbott who prompted the pat-down process -- by refusing to go through the machines. And there's no real evidence that the child was touched inappropriately.

So what's worse for a kid than having a rough time with the TSA? Being left alone with cops while her mother is hauled off to jail ... especially after watching her mom yelling and screaming instead of talking rationally with TSA officials.

Traveling with kids can raise your stress level like nothing else. But flying across the country last month, with layovers each time, I can tell you the old adage "you catch more flies with honey" holds true with the TSA just as it does with a restaurant maitre d' when you just want to sneak in to let your 6-year-old use the potty. Some airports now have family-specific lines to help ease the process for kids. Those that don't can be dealt with by smiling, asking questions, and generally being as positive and helpful as possible. They deal with cranky, abusive passengers all day long; they tend to be a heckuva lot more accommodating to people who cooperate.

That's the lesson I want to teach my daughter. Not that I can bully our way out of rules and regulations, but that we can accomplish what we need by treating people with respect. Just last night I had to lodge a complaint with a company's customer service department. I was annoyed, but the last thing my daughter needed to hear was me screaming and cursing at people who were just doing their jobs. That would make me the definition of a bad mom -- the type who doesn't bother to model good behavior.

The TSA was right to take Andrea Abbott away for her actions. She was being inappropriate in an airport (and when she pulled out her cellphone to film, she just made things worse). That she did it "on behalf of her child" isn't a valid excuse -- when you consider the ill effects it had on her daughter.

If our kids see us freaking out all the time, how are they going to learn social skills? Do you think Andrea Abbott was right to freak out at the TSA?

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