It's heart-wrenching to watch -- the video of 3-year-old Mandy Simon being aggressively patted down by a TSA employee at the airport as she screams and fights them.
While it happened a couple of years ago, the increase in complaints against TSA aggression has sent it viral recently as a prime example of what's wrong with the system. And how very wrong it is.
Sure, TSA has a job to do, and we want them to do it well, but safety first doesn't have to mean humanity is shelved.
What's seen on the video could have lasting implications for a child:
Note: The video has repeatedly been removed throughout the day, so if it becomes disabled, you can try a search for it if you want to see it all play out. But suffice it to say, it's a very brusque and overly aggressive way to handle a child who's clearly frightened.
We start from the earliest ages telling our children NOT to let strangers touch them, to speak up when someone is touching them in what feels like an inappropriate or aggressive way. Then all of a sudden, they're getting on a plane to go see grandma, and some rude employee starts yanking on them and putting their hands all over their body.
I can only imagine how terrified that little girl was, and it breaks my heart to think of my own children being treated in such a manner.
But I can't help but wonder why the father was able to think quickly enough to capture the traumatic incident on his cell phone, but not do something to intervene. He doesn't seem like a fame-seeking opportunist like John Tyner -- the "Don't Touch My Junk" guy -- at all. In fact, he seems like really nice guy and a concerned father, and perhaps he tried to intervene beyond what we see on the short video.
I don't know and offer no judgment, but the situation still makes me wonder what I would have done ... what I could do in the same case.
I would hope I would be calm and assertive enough to stick up for my child and say, "Hey, I know you have a job to do here, but can we slow down and try this another way" or ask for a supervisor ... or something to stop it.
If it was that bad, I might just rip my child away and take my chances on not making my flight.
Or maybe I'd just stand there helpless in disbelief that this was all happening and accept it as what our travel world has come to.
I don't know, and I wish it was a scenario no one had to consider.
We see only 17 seconds in the video, but those 17 seconds are enough to make my typical fears of flying with children seem pretty insignificant.
What would you do if your child was being treated like this by TSA officials?
Image via YouTube