Navigating airport security lines can be a bit of a challenge with kids, to say the least, but nothing could have prepared one 4-year-old little girl and her family for the horrible treatment she received from TSA officers in Wichita, Kansas.
Michelle Brademeyer was flying home from a wedding with her mother and two kids when her mom set off alarms in the airport security line. She was detained by TSA, at which point Michelle's daughter, 4-year-old Isabella, ran over to give her grandmother a hug. And because witnessing a small child offer their grandparent a gesture of affection is so incredibly threatening to national security, TSA agents determined she must be carrying a gun and tried to take her into a separate room to give her a full body pat-down.
Wait -- it gets worse.
When poor little Isabella became (understandably) hysterical and scared, she tried to run -- and that's when the TSA threatened to shut down the entire airport if she didn't cooperate. At that point, she was taken into another room with her mother for the pat-down, where she refused to let TSA officers touch her. They called for back-up and threatened to make the family leave the airport entirely, until a manager showed up and finally checked them and allowed them to pass through security.
And for the life of me, I have no idea how Michelle Brademeyer was able to keep her composure and remain calm while all of this went down. Because if TSA had treated my son that way? Yeah -- I'd be locked up right now instead of sitting at my kitchen island typing this post. I'm sure of it.
I've flown several times a year with my son since he was about 4 months old, and luckily, we've never run into any sort of problem with TSA. I always try to be as calm and collected as possible when we pass through the line, and I always make sure he doesn't leave my side for a second. But kids will be kids, and sometimes you really can't control what they say and do, even when they aren't trying to get into any sort of trouble.
And if someone accused my sweet, kind, loving 6-year-old of carrying a gun, insinuating that he's some sort of terrorist? I'd totally lose my cool for sure. I can't think of anything worse while traveling than having to watch your child get scared out of their mind by total strangers who don't know the difference between a hug and a concealed weapon.
Stories like this really make me think twice about getting on another plane with my kid -- though air travel is kind of inevitable. But I think I'd better work on my temper a bit before we set foot in another airport, just in case my son is feeling particularly affectionate in the security line. I'd hate to wind up in jail instead of taking a family vacation.
Have you had any bad experiences with your kids and TSA?
Image via kalleboo/Flickr