Over the past decade, airport security has become even more cumbersome and intrusive. New protocols have led to bizarre sights and exploits -- like babies and the elderly being excessively patted down -- all in the name of precaution. While some oppose these tactics, others claim they are needed to ensure Americans' safety in the air. Regardless of where you stand, the story you're about to read about a young child weeping after reportedly being accused of carrying a gun will likely tug on your heartstrings.
The incident unfolded in Wichita, Kansas, after a four-year-old girl named Isabella was allegedly humiliated by TSA agents after she hugged her grandmother after passing through security. Following the brief embrace, the Daily Mail reports that the girl was dubbed a "high security threat" and agents purportedly said they would shut down the airport if she could not be calmed down (naturally, the little girl became upset when officials began prodding her).
See, the family was in Kansas for a wedding and they were traveling home to Montana. After Isabella's grandmother triggered an alarm on the scanners, she was detained by agents to be checked further. Isabella, who had already gone through security with her mother, Michelle Brademeyer, and her sibling, ran back through to hug her grandmother.
While the two made only brief contact, Brademeyer claims that the agents shouted at the young girl and demanded that she be frisked too. Isabella's mother shared the alleged story on Facebook, writing, "It was implied, several times, that my mother, in their brief two-second embrace, had passed a handgun to my daughter."
Isabella, who was horrified by the incident, allegedly tried to run away from the TSA agents, which only intensified the situation. She was inevitably taken to a side room where she was patted down, despite incessant tears and a refusal to let a TSA official touch her. The agent, who couldn't control the child, apparently called for backup saying, "The suspect is not cooperating."
"They treated my daughter no better than if she had been a terrorist," the angry mother wrote on the social media platform. "I feel compelled to share this story in the hope that no other child will have to share in this experience."
The TSA has apparently doubled-down and defended its actions, with a spokesperson saying that the proper procedures were followed in handling the incident. When the Consumerist reached out to the TSA for comment, the essential details of the story were confirmed. Here's how officials responded:
TSA has recently implemented modified screening procedures of children 12 and under that further reduce — though not eliminate — the need for a physical pat-down for children. In this case, however, the child had completed screening but had contact with another member of her family who had not completed the screening process. TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper current screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child.
You can read the mother's story, in full, on her Facebook page.