“It was frightening. I kinda got mad.”
That’s how 12-year-old Shelbi Walser explains her experience going through a TSA checkpoint at the Dallas DFW airport on Sunday. Shelbi, who is wheelchair-bound, was held for nearly an hour after an agent said she tested positive for bomb residue. The young girl was on her way to Florida for a rare medical treatment because she lives with a genetic bone disorder.
“I said, ‘What do you mean? What did you test her for?’ ‘Oh she tested positive for explosive residue.’ Okay… at that point you would think they would test her wheelchair, but they did nothing. Everything just seemed to spiral out,” Shelbie’s mom, Tammy, told KDFW-TV.
The orderal lasted about 45 minutes, and Tammie eventually got out her phone to record what was going on. That’s when she captured Shelbie crying.
“I want to go to Florida,” Shelbie can be heard saying. Tammie was kept away from close contact with her daughter, and the young girl was screened in plain view. One official can be heard speaking gently and trying to calm her.
Tammie explains how it all ended:
The mother and daughter said a bomb specialist showed up and several agents began talking on their cellphones all while other passengers were speaking up in support of the girl.
“There were people saying, ‘Really? You’re going to do this to her? Y’all have to take her somewhere private where she’s not out in the public and everyone can see her,’” Shelbi said.
Daniels said the agents then suddenly told them they were free to go and offered no explanation about it being a false alarm or anything.
“It was a little much. I don’t know what to learn from this one. Somebody, they need to go back to the drawing board on this one,” she said.
TSA responded to KDFW by saying it takes security seriously and encouraging “feedback” from passengers who are “not satisfied with their screening experience.”