My recent encounters with the TSA

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In 2018 columnist David Harsanyi wrote:

If you don’t think the terrorists have won, you probably haven’t visited an airport in a while. Not only do these places needlessly gobble up hours of our days and billions of our dollars but here we also collectively lose all dignity and act like a bunch of automatons just so they’ll let us out of the place. Though sometimes it seems as if we might never escape. If we really wanted to slow the caravan from Central America down, we would make the migrants enter through a TSA checkpoint.

I’m no fan of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents.

Not only do they walk on their knuckles they’re no damn good at their job.

A 2017 audit by the Department of Homeland Security determined that TSA officers failed 95 percent of airport security tests in which undercover agents snuck mock explosives and banned weapons right by them.

On our just-completed family trip to Walt Disney World I had two different experiences with the TSA.

Heading to Florida at the airport in Milwaukee I walked up to an agent with my boarding pass and photo ID and saw immediately he was not going to be grins and giggles.

With a scowl on his face he asked me to insert my drivers license in this tiny gadget of a scanner. No problem. Then came the condescension.

“You know this expires in a few days.”

I offered no reply except to look confused. He fired back as if I didn’t believe him.

“It does. Take a look.”

Inadvertently I had handed over a license that was, indeed, scheduled to run out rather than my new license with Real ID I obtained a few months ago. Or so I thought. A quick check of my wallet determined the new license wasn’t there.

“You need to get that fixed” I was told. But how?

“Your local DMV” Mr. Helpful answered.

“But I’ll be in Florida.”

“You better get that fixed.”

After I passed through the rest of security I told Jennifer “We’ve got a problem.”

As soon as we got to our hotel I sought help from a Disney manager who, like a typical cast member, was calm and collected.

Not to worry, he assured me after I expressed great stupidity. Happens all the time. Just fill out a lost item report online with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, keep a copy, and take it to the airport when you leave for home and show it along with your old ID.

Another Disney representative actually filled the report out and reiterated there would be no problem, and that I might simply have to answer a few questions.

At the Orlando airport I had visions of being dragged out of line and put under a light bulb for interrogation.

My turn came and I showed my boarding pass, then sheepishly said, “I lost my drivers license.”

Here it comes I thought. Bells, whistles, and armed guards were surely about to enter the picture.

But instead it was as if Tinker Bell shot down from the sky and waved her wand.

Without hesitation the TSA agent put up his arm and motioned it towards me and said, “Not a problem” as I displayed my expired ID.

“Only if it’s more than a year old.” He made me lower my mask, checked my face to the picture on the ID, and sent me along. The entire process took seconds, sans scolding. Why couldn’t the buffoon in Milwaukee been more accommodating?

Before every trip I clean out my wallet of needless old receipts and business cards so that it at least folds. The new license was not in the house as I expected, so it probably went in the garbage accidentally. A replacement is on its way from the DMV. I’m happy to report egg is no longer on my face.

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