Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Elephant Disappears

Suddenly, I lost existance.

I was waiting patiently in the airport, quietly watching people go by. My luggage was stacked up next to me and I felt that I looked like quite the world traveler. Suddenly this illusion was shattered when a security type guy came with a luggage cart and began loading my luggage. I sputtered a protest, 'Hey, that's my luggage.'

He looked at me, annoyed and said, "Luggage can't be left unattended."

"I AM attending it," I said incredulous.

"You don't understand, SOME BODY needs to be in possession of the luggage," he said and I didn't get his implication, not yet, I was still too startled.

"I am in possession of this luggage, it is MINE," my voice is rising.

He looks at me with exaggerated patience, "SOME BODY (long pause) needs to be attending the luggage."

I got it then, I wasn't SOME BODY, "Are you suggesting that I can't supervise my own luggage because I'm in a wheelchair?"

"You need to settle down, sir."

"What are you going to TAZER me? You are stealing my luggage," I'm almost screaming now.

"Sir, Sir, SIR, you don't understand, luggage can't be unattended," what world have I slipped in to?

"I AM ATTENDING MY LUGGAGE!!"

At this point a pilot in uniform happens by and sees a commotion. He comes over automatically siding with the security guy. He asks what is going on, before security can answer, I say, "He says my luggage is unattended because I am a disabled man and can't supervise my own luggage."

Pilot looks skeptical and security man says, "He doesn't understand that luggage must be attended at all times."

Mr. Pilot's face begins to show both horror and outrage, he looks at me, "I am so sorry sir, really really sorry ..."

The security guard is lead a few feet away and they have heated words, I keep hearing about 'unattended luggage' ... finally security leaves and the pilot offers me more apology. I just thank him for his help.

I'm home now and still shocked, this blog begins what I'm sure is going to be an interesting correspondance with the airport.

195 comments:

yanub said...

Wow. Just...wow. I can't begin to understand the workings of that security guard's mind.

Kris Stableford said...

Glad you escaped from Bizarro World, Dave. Sorry some people apparently reside there 24/7.

Anonymous said...

WOW! What would have happened if the pilot hadn't come by!
LinMac

Belinda said...

Someone just had an opportunity for education, but I somehow worry that it didn't "take." I hope that his bosses eyes stay locked on him.

Meanwhile I wish I had some luggage to supervise. Mine has been missing since Tuesday!

Glee said...

I wish that was unbelievable!

And they reckon we crips are weird!

Glee

wendy said...

Absolutlely unbelievable (at least to me, a walkie)!!!!!!!!!! Just reading your post I was getting more angry by the second! It makes me wonder who else this guy things is not SOME BODY...the elderly? the developmentally disabled, I'm guessing don't meet the criteria for this guy How about people wearing glasses, maybe? It just makes the blood boil!

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

The real crime here, of course, is not just that he was trying to steal your luggage from right in front of you but that he was denying your very basic personhood. URGH. I hope the airline people take this deeply seriously. At least that one pilot "got it."

I will be looking for your future blog posts updating us on what you say to the airline and what they say back. Because this is, URGH!

Anonymous said...

It must have been like you were in a bad dream. Unbelievable.

Molly C said...

Whoa. Really? REALLY! Not ok

Tricia said...

So surreal. I can't imagine this happening and you must have thought someone was playing a prank or something - just ridiculous.

Thank goodness the pilot came along when he did.

lina said...

Unbelievable Dave - really, truly unbelievable - no, don't misunderstand me, I believe this happened - but I can't believe anyone, anyone at all can think like that!

liz said...

Holy hell. I am...just...speechless.

Amy said...

Oh. My. God.

I can't even find the words. Bizarro World is right.

Anonymous said...

OH.....MY.....GOD!!!!!!

Ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(If you hadn't said it happened I wouldn't have believed it was possible.)

(It's bad enough that "disability" can at times make you feel like baggage, and carry excess baggage, and now you can't even claim or attend to your actual baggage!)

Good luck with the airline, the security company, and the USA Federal Aviation Administration.
They have no idea what they're in for!

You are definitely somebody with some body Dave! (Don't let the turkeys get you down!)

Anonymous said...

good. god.

& thank heaven the pilot came along.

but if he thinks you aren't somebody, he certainly doesn't know you.

HeatherUK said...

That is outrageous....

...but I bet you write really good letters when you're riled.

What an opportunity to educate some people.

Go get 'em tiger

william Peace said...

Ignorance as always reigns supreme when dealing with mass transportation. The airlines and airport personnel are just far more ignorant and aggressively discriminatory than other industries. Nothing shocks me any more when I am on a plane or in an airport.

jue b said...

sad to say that i'm not at all shocked. People are more educated now but there is still a long way to go, i'm not disabled myself but work with people with learning disabilities and sometimes people still talk to me first and fefur to them as them, him or her and not bother to ask that persons name let a lone speak to them

Princeton Posse said...

Speechless...Can't imagine being in your position. Some people...

Anonymous said...

I hope you got this guy's name and use it frequently when your writing to complain about his behaviour.

Shan said...

Everyone's all outraged and they're right to be, but between this security fellow and the ambulance attendants' decision to not resuscitate the overweight, disabled fellow in his apartment, I'm mostly just scared. Because how many more of them are out there? And what other important positions do they occupy?

Kate said...

Wow, that's just crazy. That might be the most bizarre thing I have ever heard!!! Wow.

Cynthia said...

So sorry this happened! Wow. I can only imagine how that felt, a bit like the twilight zone, where everything is suddenly very wrong.
I keep having to lower the bar for my general belief of how people are treated in this world. I used to think that at least Western countries had it together, but now, it is so clear that we don't. We have so much work to do.

One Sick Mother said...

Unbefrickinlievable!

I'm with Shan. You were "lucky" this time that someone in authority and with an ounce of sense happened by, but how many of these incidents happen every day, to people who are less articulate and (for want of a better word) "lucky"?

I think very many and that is quite a scary thought.

jcr said...

Apparently the "45 IQ minimum" requirement for security guards isn't nearly stringent enough.

Anonymous said...

I am completely shocked!

If it had been someone else writing this I would have thought they were kidding. Thank goodness you have a voice.

On a lighter side of things in this country unattended luggage gets blown up so maybe you should consider yourself lucky.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I am a bit confused by the shock most people seem to experience in reading your story.

I do think it is awful, embarrassing (for them) and humiliating (for you). However, I am in no way surprised that a security official in an airport acted like a power hungry idiot.

I've come to expect that they will behave without any sense of decency or common sense.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it's time to have your 'McDonalds Hot Coffee' moment. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

In TSA dictionary "BODY" should include 4 complete and functioning limbs, I guess! Anything less than that is not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

I wish you would have started yelling "Thief! Thief! I'm being robbed!" -- perhaps followed by dialing 911 and telling them that there's a strange man handling your luggage in a suspicious manner.

It sounds like you were traveling with a lot of luggage, and that you lacked a traveling companion: how were you managing all that luggage?

Erin said...

Unbelievable! For the security guard to even argue his stance with you and the pilot is ridiculous.

Chuck Jones said...

Wow, that could have easily ended worse, with no pilot walking by and with the security guard just walking off with your stuff. At that point, you would have to argue with groups of guards and that's never good. I'm glad that it sort of worked out but this story is really sad. It's like he thought you were dead.

Brett Stevens said...

Security guys are paid $8 an hour.

They love to tell you to FUCK OFF because it makes them feel powerful in their powerless lives.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked that all of that happened. Just a simple "Sir, is this your luggage?" followed by a Yes it is." should have covered all of this mess. Wheelchair or not. Being a pilot myself, I am happy that he helped you out. We aren't as arrogant as many people think we are (in general. I can DEFINITELY name a few who should not be allowed on the good-list.)

Anonymous said...

Geez that is so lame of the security guard

people really need to be more accommodative. its great you were travelling and if u ever needed help with ur luggae u can ask for it. nice of the pilot to be so quick to help.

Harold Fowler said...

Wow, now that is quite an amazing feat is it not?

R
Twww.privacy-tools.us.tc

Anonymous said...

This is like something out of idiocracy.

Anonymous said...

Must be the same guy that wouldn't let the football player go into the hospital as his mother-in-law was dying.

Tom said...

Support to you. Perhaps you may even convince the airport to provide better training for their security force.

Anonymous said...

holy shit!

If you can, go back to that airport, find who that security guard is and raise hell until he gets sacked.

There's just no way he should be allowed to keep working there.

Amy said...

Total kudos to you! You didn't hesitate one bit to rip the security guy a new one by pointing out what a blatant idiot he was. I hate when people get all frightened in airports and start to worry if they might be arrested for the Swiss army knife they forgot to leave at home. we should not be made to feel like sub-humans incapable of taking care of ourselves under the guise that it's for our own "protection".

Anonymous said...

this is outrageous. the ignorance and idiocy of some in the social services department confounds me. good on the pilot for helping you out, and good on you for ripping that guard a new one

Marcus said...

This Blog can't be left unattended sir.

Emily said...

I found your blog through this post, which was posted on reddit. I've read back through a lot of the archives, and already passed the link on to a friend who's looking into school counseling when she gets out of college.

Your blog as a whole has very much made me think. I'm marginally disabled (fibromyalgia, plus a bunch of old injuries that come back to haunt me), but it's only within the last 7 years that I've had any problems, so I still haven't made peace with the fact that I'll never be able to do everything I want to completely independently. Your blog is giving me a different perspective on my interactions with friends and coworkers as well as law enforcement (although fortunately, they've been nice once they established that the handicap placard is, in fact, mine), etc. So thank you, very much, for that.

Molly C said...

http://www.timeout.com/newyork/articles/own-this-city/9473/label-bodied

Thought you might appreciate it. I plan on checking it out. maybe this weekend

Molly C said...

whoops. its not showing anymore. thats an old article. still interesting buti'm sure you'd seen it

Anonymous said...

Until you said that you were in a wheelchair I wasn't sure what the hell this security guard's problem was, other than being a complete moron. TSA guards are such assholes. They couldn't become educated in anything that would benefit society so now they get their kicks hassling people trying to get some R&R.

Anonymous said...

BS.. if you are a person with handicaps they would have been informed by you or your representative.
Trying to do a thriller??
I have worked with disabled people for 20 years. They have been blind, deaf, profoundly impaired, and many other things.
IF you have a disability.. the airlines WILL help you. IF you have special needs.. CALL in advance.
Seriously people; a person like this? Don't you think that it was written to start a FAKE fight. Let it go. You people that will jump so quickly to someones lie.
Seriously, there are things available for the true handicapped. There are people who pretend to be something that they are not. This person obviously does not understand what he needs to do in ADVANCE. Or he has the wrong CAREGIVERS.
STOP LOOKING AT ALL SOB STORIES LIKE THEY ARE REAL!!!!!!!
Dang. Give the people with real disabilities a chance. Not these people that have to go on the news and make people give them free money.vishir

Anonymous said...

Horrifying.

Sometimes I just don't understand how such ignorance and idiocy can exist, let alone persist, in the world.

All the best..

outsider said...

Can I make a suggestion? Besides complaining about the security guard contact the airline the pilot worked for and et them know one of their pilots did a good job, even more helpful if you have a name but a time and place would probably suffice.

Anonymous said...

This sort of thing really ticks me off. It's just so infuriating how people can be so nonchalant with regards to treating the disabled like non-persons.

When I was in college, as a freshman I had to attend this sort of weekly orientation, a small class where we sat around and learned about the school. So one day we're talking about the disabilities center, and everyone starts making fun of it, even the person who runs it. They make fun of the director's name and say it's a resource for people who are crippled, slow, or dumb, and the teacher supervising doesn't step in to say anything.

Besides ticking me off it really made me feel almost ashamed for having a disability, especially since I was afraid to speak out. I'm sure if anyone had known I was disabled no one would have said anything, but it doesn't change the fact these kids all shared this attitude and no one was correcting them. I complained afterwards and the teacher had to go back and explain what they did was wrong, but that should have been done from the outset.

Anonymous said...

Stink of untruth, here. What airline? What airport? What flight #? Date? Did you file a complaint? Who was the pilot? Who are you?

BTW, next time don't make it a pilot...they wouldn't get involved. Make it an airline employee...much more credible. Airlines are bad enough without making stuff up so begone with you, lamer.

Anonymous said...

can't stand these type of jerks. my best friend is in a wheelchair so it really irks me when people park in handicap spaces while being perfectly fine. one day while running errands i encountered 3 different people parked in disabled spaces. all of them said they 'didnt realise' - yeah, those signs and big painted wheelchair symbols on the ground can be hard to see sometimes! one guy even said it 'didnt matter' - i hope he ends up in a wheelchair so he can feel how things like that do matter.

David (Dragon) Fiedler said...

As a member of the human race I wish to apologize for the above comments by Anonymous at 1:55 and 3:55 AM. On the other hand, they may well be from invading space aliens or Nazi zombies or escapees from the Phantom Zone. It is certainly hard to explain them otherwise. Perhaps the security guard could shed some light on these posts, since he seems to be of similar ilk.

Let us hope this ilk dissipates soonest.

Sam said...

SOME BODY needs to be attending the luggage.

Anonymous said...

Some BODY is pissed off because after he dropped out of high school he didn't achieve anything with his life and now guards an airport. Fuck him. You're better than that.

blake said...

You know, the situation is obviously amazing, but I can't say I'm particularly shocked that something like this happened.

Robert said...

Which airport did this happen in? Pearson?

Hannah said...

Egads. I travelled from the UK to California this Christmas and had to use a wheelchair due to a long-term injury and that was bad enough (http://andabusers.livejournal.com/814854.html, http://andabusers.livejournal.com/816434.html). Travelling when disabled is the most stressful thing ever, and I totally avoid it now. I still haven't written to the relevant airport/airline people because it was working me up so much, but I will when I recover. I would love to see how your correspondence goes - might give me some motivation.

All the best.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I hope you took some names down and mentioned them in your email.

Anonymous said...

dont really know what to say maybe gupling this would come out more info

Anonymous said...

I would like to remind the idiots posting here that the 8 dollar an hour TSA fool is not the problem here.

The system is designed to not work and is the fault of a public and legislature willing to cave to an authoritarian prez after 9/11 (I'm assuming this happened in the USA).

The solution is not to get some clown fired. The solution is to end the system, now that voters have spoken against authoritarian 24/7 focus on terrists.

Rebecca said...

OMG, some people just do not have enough common sense in this world. I am sorry that you had to deal with such a short sighted person. TSA better start training better.

Anonymous said...

Call the Star ... this would be a great story for them.

:kErry: said...

This would have been funny on Seinfeld.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't surprise me at all.

Airports and aircraft are now areas where nobody has any rights whether you are disabled or not. The Constitution does not exist aboard aircraft or in airports. People have been harassed, jailed, and had their kids taken from them permanently for things like raising their voice or disagreeing with security. Your story is maddening, but sadly quite common.

I'm glad you are spreading the word about this. Get a lawyer and put some financial pressure on them - it's the only thing these thugs will understand.

Also, please tell us the airport you were in so we can call and email complaints in support of you.

We all need to stand together in protest of this crap.

Kevin said...

Wow. Just fucking wow. give 'em hell. I hope that fucker gets fired.

Anonymous said...

No doubt about it ... someone would definitely be bleeding if it were me instead. I am absolutely certain that I would not have tolerated it more than about 15 seconds and someone would be hospitalized.

If the security guard or anyone like them is reading this please for your safety, keep this in mind. I promise you I will not hold back if you try to steal my stuff.

I'm sure there are many others like me that feel the same way. Don't be stupid.

Tim said...

Holy hell, man. That is just unbelievable.

Very, very scary. My thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

This question has been asked a couple of times on this blog, but hasn't been asked yet. And, a lot of the comments are making assumptions that are predicated on the answer.

Dude, at which airport did this occur? You're from Toronto, so was this at Toronto Pearson? Or, was this at an American airport -- where the the security personnel would have been the (US's) federally-mandated TSA?

These things matter to the discussion. Which airport?

Eric said...

Good to hear the pilot had some sense.

maxhealth said...

I am surprised he did not simply wait until your luggage was checked in to steal what he wanted from it. My nephew is a manager of baggage handlers at LAX. He explained just how the TSA people do this. When a bag is X-rayed they look for mobile phones, Ipods etc and then use their authority or their TSA key to open the bag and take the item. Several have been caught doing this but it is still common practice at most major airports.

Anonymous said...

Faccist rent-a-TSA "law enforcement" drunk on power.

Anonymous said...

When I read your story, I couldn't help but wonder whether the "security guard" was really a security guard. That would be a pretty clever scam: dress up in the uniform and walk off with people's bags. If they protested, you could just say something like, "sorry, this is airport and TSA policy, I don't like it either but if you want your bag back, you have to go over to Security Checkpoint 2c in Terminal A and fill out the required form." Then just walk off with the bag...

Anonymous said...

You are fucking crazy, man.

At no point did the security guard say you were incapable of attending your luggage because you were disabled. He said "SOME BODY", probably thinking 'attended' meant you had to physically be holding your luggage. This situation is an example of what is wrong with western society (and I don't mean the security guard). People twist words and assume way too much, become easily offended, look for any reason to make people think they are being discriminated against.

Also, there was no reason for you to freak out and start screaming. It's just your luggage. The guy wasn't trying to kill you. Yet everyone seems to think this was a reasonable reaction to start acting crazy and irrational and screaming at the top of your lungs.

This turned into a huge angry misunderstanding partly (not completely) because your reaction was to start yelling instead of continuing to be calm and rational with the security guard. I mean, your "voice started rising" by your third statement? Show some self control, man.

Oh well.

Anonymous said...

You know... I think the security guy just didnt understand the word "attended". He probably got the translation to mean someone needs to be "standing" near it. That is messed up though, I hope you take this as far up as you can.

Anonymous said...

Oh god to that guy talking about western society, if I came over and took your stuff and just said, "nobody's attending this" How would you react? You would let me take your luggage without a second thought? You would not be distressed and start raising your voice? What rational would you fight this with? Security says "no one is attending this" you answered with " I AM attending this" and he proceeds to take it anyways and you recommend to stay in control and have a rational debate with him whether or not you're actually there... sounds logical, if you were an idiot.

Alexi said...

Details... flight no, date, time, or it didn't happen.

Sorry, but this world is too full of mock outrage and indignation to tae, it's just the way it is.ke everything at face value.

No offence, Dav

Alexi said...

Details... flight no, date, time, or it didn't happen.

Sorry, but this world is too full of mock outrage and indignation to tae, it's just the way it is.ke everything at face value.

No offence, Dav

harry said...

This is just another example of the waste that is the TSA. I said it many times and I'll say it again, "THE BIGGEST TERRORIST GROUP IN THIS COUNTRY IS THE TSA!"

Anonymous said...

This horribly reminds me of Doc Deneeka's "death" in Catch-22.

John Barberio said...

Er... To all those people questioning this?

Where the **** have you come from? Where do you get off on posting "Tell us which Airport and why you were flying or it Didn't Happen!" Did you even read the previous blog post about his being on the final day of a trip to Fresno? Are you unable to make the logical leap, are you seriously that stupid or are you cretinous trolls out to get some fun making disabled people upset?

Annasbones said...

I can't believe this actually happened... shocking!

Bjarni Rafn said...

I kept waiting for the punchline because i was sure this was some kind of a joke!

Eric said...

the security guy was a droid from the matrix and his program was to remove unattended luggage - which means luggage not attended by some body

Moondancer said...

...

...

Okay, I got nothing for this. I've done security for year and I still can't wrap my brain around what that guard was thinking. Nope. Not at all.

Anonymous said...

lol.

Anonymous said...

To the person who said the story was "BS": just because you work with the disabled doesn't mean that 1) your experience is representative and 2)that there aren't some TSA guards who have psych issues. Having spent a fair amount of time in airports and being schooled in psychology, I can tell you there are many TSA agents whose picnic is missing a sandwich or two. Regardless of whether the OP had assistance that had been prearragnged, the guard had no right to insist a disabled person couldn't attend to his own luggage.

And to the "Stink of untruth" poster, what do you know of pilots and their personalities and behavior? I am married to one and have many, many pilot friends. It's a relatively small and elite group. Not necessarily a wealthy group, but since it requires money and intellect to become a pilot, it narrows down the list of those who qualify. Many would absolutely intervene and be proud to do so. Are there a few self-absorbed jerks in the pilot world? Without doubt, in fact I know a few. But most of them are intelligent and thoughtful. Many are ex-military.

And, to those that argue the OP should have listed which airport and airline, that would have been very foolish. If the OP intends to take this up with them, publishing the details is not in his best interest. People sue for that these days.

And lastly, I watch people in the airports routinely not attend to their luggage. I've watched women park their bags outside a restroom door and go in. I've watched people get up and leave their luggage to go get something from a vending machine or from a cafe without so much as a glance backward at their vulnerable items. Airport personnel have walked by without incident. Yet, a person in a wheelchair right next to them isn't attending it? Ridiculous.

Bad Fish said...

I cannot believe the ignorance of some people. Especially some of the ones commenting on this point.

You have my sympathies, blog author

Anonymous said...

I look forward to the next chapters. Shpuld be interesting!

Alexi said...

Nope, haven't read anything else on this blog. Shouldn't have to, if the OP is trying to make a point.

I'm not saying that this didn't happen (my comments about no details then it didn't notwithstanding). It's an expression, which if you're not aware of it, seems more biting than it actually is. I suggest y'all figure this intertubz out a bit before your indignation strangles you.

HOWEVER... the tubz are rife with fake shit. ANd truly, without details, it didn't happen.

So to you non-critics... kindly sod off. There's a good girl.

And no, publishing details of what and where what happened is not counterproductive. In fact, it helps the authorities become a bit more...motivated to deal with it. For example, no mention is made of whether it was TSA, and yet a lot of moronics hereabouts feel free to jumpt to that conclusion.

So I say again, sod off you incredulous wankers, and Dave: please do provide us with some more details.

Anonymous said...

I know it is unpopular but I can see why the security guard was concerned IF you were leaving the luggage by itself while you were elsewhere.

The theory about unattended luggage is that a bastard could plant a bomb and walk away. If security allowed men on wheelchairs to leave a piece of luggage in a crowded facility while they were elsewhere, terrorists would take advantage of the rule.

In any event, the security guard sounded like a nitwit. He could have offered to help you check it or get it through security and hold it by the scanner.

The Data Jockey said...

in response to anonymous he wasn't elsewhere he was right Fing next to it as I understand. just cause he is in a wheelchair does not mean he is not going to notice someone messing with his luggage he certainly noticed the security guy messin with it

Anonymous said...

Isnt this the perfect grounds for a discrimination lawsuit against the TSA ?

Anonymous said...

To all the People claiming this is a TSA or Government person, Re-read the posters comments.
This is Bag Boy, Not TSA Or Government! Neither of those two groups Collect Bags!
This was either an Bag Puller for Groups such as Ram, or a similar organization or possibly Airline Personnel dragging bags back to their holding area. Stop blaming others with Crap and learn to read. Obviously those claiming it must be the government people don't travel much and have no clue what they are talking about.

emiofbrie said...

From the orignal post:

My luggage was stacked up next to me and I felt that I looked like quite the world traveler.

So he was not elsewhere

Alexi said...

Dear Anon (@ 2:44)

See, you're the reason why the Tubz are all cluttered with incoherence and stupidities.

NOWHERE does Dace say that the security guard in question is TSA. How frankin' clear does it need to be?

To the rest of you (anti)incredulous: do you see the issue here? Partial information, rumours, inuendo, shootin' from the lip - all that's good for blowing off steam. But not for getting anything done.

Dave: it's incumbent on you to provide details now that you've stoned this hornets nest.

And the rest off you who disagree, well review my comments from 2:18.

Anonymous said...

This made it to the Consumerist, so of course there are going to be people reading it who haven't read previous posts. Most are just going to be self-righteous consumers who believe every sob story they hear. But there will be a rational few who disbelieve.

As said before, more details are needed - or it didn't happen.

How far from his bags was he? If I were in an airport and left my bags on the floor next to me, then went even a few feet away, they'd be considered "unattended". Just because he's handicapped doesn't mean he's not held to the same standards as the rest of us.

Was it a TSA agent or an airline employee who harassed him? Which airline? Which airport? How far was he from his bags?

Without more information, only a fool would reach a conclusion.

Like the anons before me, I'm not hating on the handicapped, I'm just cautiously skeptical.

Anonymous said...

"when a security type guy came with a luggage cart and began loading my luggage" = $8 hour BAGBOY, Not Government folks.

Lene Andersen said...

Wow. Dave. Holy crap. I'm speechless. That's insane.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who claimed only those disagreeing with this blogger are "rational", while yes it's good to get facts and avoid jumping to conclusions, even if there was "more" to it, there is still now excuse for this and you know it.

There is a way of working with the public, being patient and understanding, not to mention nice or diplomatic, instead of acting like a Nazi, dehumanizing someone and continuing to STEAL their things when they loudly and clearly claim and are ready to prove ownership.

The fact you defend this person, the indefensible use of authority to abuse innocent helpless people with misapplied policy is a good reason for you to go see a therapist.

Anonymous said...

I'm at a complete loss as to even THINK could have been going through the guard's mind.

But then again, I also wish I could have seen my grandfather in that situation. He carried a cane as well as being in a wheel chair and wasn't afraid to use it (witnessed more then once).

Sounds like the guard was a few fries short of a happy meal and just trying to find SOMEWAY to pick an argument - did they have some type of quota to fill?

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, how dare the Anonymous poster slam Consumerist readers as self-righteous? Why shouldn't consumers assert themselves when they are wronged, or take offense at wrongs done to other consumers and rally around them?

Airport Security DOES NOT have the right to run concentration camps on taxpaying travelers who are not breaking laws and whose tax money pays for their paychecks, no matter what you say. Clearly you have no credibility or humanity, you are probably just one of these "Let's applaud and cheer when it happens to others" psychopaths.

Anonymous said...

I hope you took down the security guard's:

Name
Badge
Affiliation (company that's doing the security)

And will raise hell.

LD said...

Dave, you really should have been more sympathetic to the security guard's own disability. Perhaps he suffers from a pathology in which he mistakes people for inanimate objects.

ksol1460 said...

Along with all the other suggestions people here have made, write a note to Patrick Smith, who does salon.com's "Ask the Pilot" column. Explain exactly what happened, with details. Chances are he's heard stories like yours before. He can publicize your story very effectively.

Nick

Anonymous said...

i wonder if the guy was a Dallas Policeman on administrative leave.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,510950,00.html

Anonymous said...

My Fellow Americans,

Just think, this is just a small part of what you get for the $50 billion tax dollars spent each year to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Rejoice, we are all safer!

Anonymous said...

And to add to the outrage, I'm *certain* everyone in the airport - grumpy as they are - would've confirmed this thug's right to STEAL property. Alert the media, my friend.

Anonymous said...

To suggest that one is not a full person because of a physical trait is not only illegal, but harkens back to the olden days when African Americans were considered 1/3 human because of their skin color.

What happened not only outrages me as a handicapped individual, but as a decent and all-loving human being that absolutely despises anyone that treats others badly because of an abnormality.

You must take this to the media; it can not go unheard. It's an absolutely gross violation of rights, and a bias crime to boot. I hope you will heed this advice, because the world needs to hear this story. It's absolutely atrocious and wrong for such actions to take place in this day and age. Absolutely disgraceful.

RB said...

It is not clear from your article if this Security Guard type was a Transportation Security Officer or something else.

Would you please clarify?

Thanks

Kate said...

Oh , geez. Sorry that all these trolls have come on your blog, Dave.

If you want to know where they came from, my guess is the Consumerist.

I read the Consumerist every day and I went on there just now and your blog entry was on the front page. I thought it was great. But when I read the comments, they're all saying the same thing - where did it happen, who was the pilot, so on.

To those people: this is a BLOG. This is written for Dave's own personal use, to talk about process and write about things in his life that matter to him. He is NOT writing for the audience of the Consumerist. The objective of the Consumerist is to hold companies with bad service to the fire, and complain to the hilt when necessary; Dave was just trying to make a point. It could have been ANY airport, any pilot, any person; the point is this could happen to anyone. That is the point he was trying to make.

He did not know his post would end up on the Consumerist and has no obligation to please that audience by providing more details.

Dave if you're interested in looking....it's www.consumerist.com

Kate

Alexi said...

Dear Kate,

You are clearly not in control of your faculties.

When someone makes a claim as vile and preposterous as this, it is incumbent on them to back it up with facts. Anyone can spew shit, as you yourself prove.

You can't simply throw something out there and then ignore the consequences.

It may well be Dave's blog, and until I hear from him directly (he's obviously not sitting by his computer watching all of these comments in real time) but it's a public story, and this is a public medium.

I give Dave the benefit of doubt right now, but eagerly await his elaborations...

You, on the other hand Kate, if you insist on being a ninny about this, prepare to be bitch slapped appropriately.

There's a good girl now.

thetathx1138 said...

Here courtesy Consumerist. Good Lord, that's outrageous. I hope the airport offers you some satisfaction.

capriuni said...

I was born with CP, and use a motorized wheelchair.

My father was an airline captain for Eastern Airlines.

My first flight on an airplane was when I was less than two months old, and I've flown regularly since then. But I refuse to fly ever since 9/11 and the Homeland Security Act nonsense.

I'm not afraid of flying, I'm afraid of airport security. And this kind of thing is the reason why.

speedwell said...

I was in Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, on a business trip a little too soon after having had major kidney surgery. I was clear to travel, so long as I did not do anything to strain myself. I requested assistance and got it, mostly; I was able to ride the buggy and wheelchairs and to shuffle about a little, but I was under orders not to walk far, climb steps, or carry anything heavier than my purse.

When boarding from Heathrow Terminal 5, you must usually wait at the gate until they call you to get on a shuttle bus, and from there be driven out onto the tarmac and board the plane via a portable stair unit. When I got to the gate, I informed the gate attendant that I was temporarily disabled and could not board the plane without assistance. She told me everything was being taken care of, and to get on the bus and ride it to the plane.

I did that (there was not an issue getting on the bus because it lowered itself to the curb), but when I got out to the plane, there was no assistance for me to get on. They offered to carry my bag for me if I could get up the steps on my own, which I could not do. Finally they called a lift truck, which took twenty minutes to arrive. Wonder how much that foulup cost British Airways. I would hate to be permanently disabled, like some of you are; I'd probably be permanently pissed off, too. Don't blame you.

By the way, for those of you who are utterly ignorant of history, the "slaves count as one third" language in the Constitution did not mean that slaves were to be thought of as one-third of a human being. It was a compromise between the South, which was arguing that slaves should be counted as FULL people for Congressional representation (surprise! The slave owners demanded that the slaves be FULLY represented!) and the North, which argued that the slaves should not be counted at all for representatives, because it would in effect give the slave states disproportionate voting power. It had nothing, nothing at all to do with whether people thought slaves were human or not.

speedwell said...

Oh, and it was three-fifths, wasn't it?

Brook said...

Here via Consumerist. Terribly sorry about the ridiculousness you encountered, and I very much hope some good comes out of it; perhaps some re-training for the security folks? (Though I cannot imagine the training that would have resulted in this truly perplexing behavior.)

Anonymous said...

Sigh...

Welcome back to existence!

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to beat the security goof about the head & shoulders -- unless he has PTSD or something.

Liz Henry said...

Oh Dave it is so horrible I have to laugh...

here is my latest TSA encounter, blogged:

http://badgerbag.livejournal.com/251769.html

and here is some fabulous info,

http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/problems.htm

and a phone number for your cell if you're travelling in the U.S.:


Toll-Free Hotline For Air Travelers With Disabilities ... assist air travelers with time-sensitive disability-related issues that need to be addressed in "real time." The line is staffed from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time, seven days a week. Air travelers who experience disability-related air travel service problems may call the hotline at 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY) to obtain assistance.

NickFeldman said...

Keep fighting the good fight!

Nick

Alexi said...

Folks...

It's not been fuckin established that it's the farkin' TSA!

As much as I'd like to slag them, stop being sheeple and pretending you know what's what!

(Still waiting for Dave to elaborate. Boy, won't he be surprised at all the attention here.)

Anonymous said...

This may have already been stated, but it sounds to me like you probably have an ADA lawsuit (if you want it) against the security guard personally, the company providing security for the airport, and the airport itself (and possibly the airline)

This is the sort of thing that if you make the slightest squeak of legal action, people will most likely fall all over themselves to compensate you, reeducate their staff, and take other actions to avoid massive lawsuits and bad publicity. ADA is really serious shit.

Anonymous said...

I'm the anonymous that previously posted about 'western culture'.

The posts following mine only further prove my point. Another anonymous poster even implied that I would react the same way if I was in this same situation, and I guess I must have been lying or being delusional to assume there are people left in this world that can still interact with fellow human beings calmly when being disagreed with.

Our society, especially in America (but obviously everywhere in the world), has just been going down this ego-driven black hole it seems. You are angry, you love no one who isn't your dear friend or family (and even the existence of love in those relationships is questionable), you are afraid of strangers, approaching them with apprehension. You ignore homeless people asking you for money or food and you complain about them later when you get home. You are paranoid and completely unconscious, it's like all automation, there is only action and reaction based upon what you learned growing up through other angry and paranoid people and fictional drama. No free thought (at least very very little).

The worst part is, not only is this a common and accepted way to live, but it is CELEBRATED. Some seem to be proud that they are angry and hateful and skeptical. You think it saves you from something, but it's really just destroying the connections you we could all be making with others.

And you wonder why you're unhappy, depressed, medicated, need to see a shrink for this and that...

Kelsey said...

Wow. I have no words.

RDslimdown said...

Did the security person ever offer a proper explanation?

Josh Jasper said...

Here via a link on a friend's livejournal. I'm sorry you had to go through that, and am outraged.

Man, do yourself a favor and disable anonymous commenting. This story is making the rounds, it seems, and that attracts anonymous 4chan style douchebags like no one's business. They'll find any excuse to try and ruin you day.

Donna said...

I am amazed by some of these comments. "Who are you?" Uh - read the sidebar. Read some archives. I can't believe some of these idiots. As if you'd "make this up". Geesh. What a bunch of trolls! (And I sure would love to read the letter you write, you do have a way with words!)

Laura said...

Hi Dave,
Thanks for the disturbing but very well written post. I wanted you to know that I've commented on your post on my own blog, at
http://www.laurahershey.com/?p=116
peace,
Laura

Liz Henry said...

People don't want ADA lawsuits but I've never known anyone to do one. Sounds great but who actually takes those cases? Sure you can file a title II complaint but then what?

No one in an airport has ever "fallen all over themselves" to fix a bad situation I've had in an airport as a disabled person, nor has anyone who has been horrible to me anywhere in the rest of the world been particularly afraid of lawsuits -- in fact, merely asserting that something should be more accessible gets a hostile reaction most of the time. Go live in a wheelchair for a few weeks some time and see how it goes for you. No... people do not spring about and help you because they are afraid of lawsuits. LOL. Bitter LOL.

I think it still takes organized political action to get attention to an accessibility issue.

Cartoonasaurus said...

You know, some people CAN be enlightened.
But not this guy. Logic didn't work and I don't think more logic would have worked any better...

What, I need 2 legs to "attend"? 2 arms, as well? Somehow, the definition of the word, "attend" involves, what, the ability to do a running kick or something? LOL

Anonymous said...

What a jackass that guard was. I presume you have all your facts and are prepared to complain loud and long.

I'm an able bodied person and I don't stand around HOLDING all of my bags. They're normally on the ground, next to or between my feet or next to me when I'm sitting down - much as they would be were I in a wheelchair.

I don't see the difference between that and your situation, other than I wouldn't have a guard acting like a jackass to me.

Sorry you had to go thru that. Hope you have some success getting some dictionaries out to the guards at that airport for the meaning of "attended" - he obviously fell asleep that day in Guard School.

Scott McMurren said...

It is clear to me that you need to go to local cop shop and buy a uniform. Then you can "attend" your luggage w/authority. FTW.

P Smith said...

That pilot isn't much better, automatically assuming the blogger had been in the wrong.

Intelligent people find facts before they find fault.

Kit Windsor said...

it sounds to me like the security guard was being a complete douche and should be fired for that. Sorry to hear that happened to you man!

I would have probably ended up getting more than agitated. I did not think thatpeople were still that stupid.

Baba Yaga said...

Most are just going to be self-righteous consumers who believe every sob story they hear. But there will be a rational few who disbelieve.

If I may so observe, rationality no more leaps to unfounded disbelief than to unfounded belief.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I were being "securitized" by these TSA jerks in Dallas. I told my wife in a normal voice "the way TSA treats people is bull shit".

Some power hungry douche bag comes rushing over to tell me "no cursing in line is allowed - SIR".

Thanks George - Thanks a bunch. I'd rather deal with unpaid terrorists.

Lale said...

Which airport was this? Because if it was Canadian, they just violated Charter.

Selfish Mom said...

Some people shouldn't be allowed to have jobs that put them in contact with the public.

Anonymous said...

Apparently no one has a minute to do minimal research. By the stunningly obscure method of clicking on the blog link to see Dave's other posts, it is obvious that this was SFO and he was waiting for an Air Canada flight to Toronto.

I also have experienced the security at SFO to be living in a police state mentality.

Anonymous said...

Monkeys! They are hiring gibbering monkeys to do these jobs. No brains or common sense available.

Cassandra said...

I would laugh if it wasn't so pathetic. I have had people scram at me because they think wheelchair=deaf and/or dumb (and you ask who is the moron?), but nobody's ever tried to steal my luggage in an airport. I have to admit that it does support my conjecture that we gimps are actually invisible to some people. I have had people slam into me and ask "and where did YOU come from?" Frankly, if I owned a TASER I'd use it on such idiots - fortunately, I don't & won't resort to violence, tempting though it may be :-}

Anonymous said...

wish i'd been there with my video cam. we'd let him take your stuff and humbly submit the footage to rachel maddow.

Anonymous said...

Lale: Yes,it would be a Charter violation... unless the airport was Vancouver, he was Polish, and the security guard was RCMP...

Annapolitan said...

I'm so glad to hear you're taking this further. I can't comprehend the thinking of such a person as the one who confronted you.

Anonymous said...

What the guard said: you're not SOME body, i.e., you're NOBODY, because you're disabled - that is so discriminatory it may qualify as hate speech.

You have to go public with the details. Vermin such as the companies that hire people like this only change when exposed to the light of day.

Alexi said...

Dear Anon (12:35 PM):

This is not hate speech. It's stupid speech.

If, of course, it happened.

If... then yes, clearly inappropriate, clearly rude, clearly unprofessional. But really, hate speech? Who defines that? By what criterion?

I define your ill-thunk out postings as hate speech. Sod you!

johannasmom said...

Wow.... What a nightmare, and airport security has so much authority that it's hard to fight anything they do.

Were you able to complain to one of his higher ups?

laurie said...

I have been in a wheelchair a long time and I have traveled extensively with my job. This sort of discrimination happens all the time. I still have people ask me where my attendant is and are incredulous that I don't have one. Airports run the gamut from excellent service to the kinds of experiences Dave talks about.

When my husband travels with me how I am treated is significantly improved but I am addressed through my husband quite often as if I can't hear or form a response. I have a PHd and am well respected in my profession by all who KNOW me. It is the assumptions that people like the security guard made that hurt us all. People shouldn't have to KNOW me to treat me decently. I would love to be treated like any other human being all the time.

However we have not come that far yet as a global community. If this was me I would be satisfied if the security guard was given disability awareness training like airline staff are. It is satisfying to punish but it is far better to change systemic attitudes whenever possible.

Lee said...

FYI, it is possible to enable comment moderation on Blogger. This would have the benefit of eliminating trolls like Alexi, who have nothing better to do in the prison library than pour shit onto anything they can find.

butterfly said...

An incident cyber path (from a blogger named Kynn) brought me here to this post.. Imagine my surprise to see it was you.. Our paths crossed a while back, I think, something to do with a disability action at some point..

ANYWAY..

Wow, just wow.. People don't understand that this type of disabilism CONTINUES to fester everywhere we go..

Thanks so much for sharing the experience.. The more PWDs do, the more others' eyes will be open to similar situations..

Cyber hugs from Talking Rock.. :)

george.w said...

To the trolls who insist that "details must be provided or it didn't happen", I have one question: Is that how you identify real stories?

The very first thing fakers do when making up stories is throw in a lot of details. They could give the name of the airport, the time, the flight number, and say they couldn't get the names or badge number because of limited mobility. Presto! Credibility, for those who don't think about what "credibility" means.

It's also possible they are planning a lawsuit and have been advised by an attorney not to publish identifying details.

To the one who said: "there are things available for the true handicapped", do you think handicapped people are never mistreated. Should a handicapped person have to advertise their every move in advance to some airline bureaucracy?

If all it takes to convince you is fake details, you can probably be convinced of anything.

Kenora said...

Gads - here via a friend's post on LiveJournal, and I'm sorry to read that this happened to you. Reading about this type of treatment really burns me up. I'm lucky enough to be able-bodied, but I know that could change in a heartbeat given circumstances... people are people, all shapes and sizes and ability levels.

Alexi said...

Folks... I'm trolling for reaction. But the longer it takes "Dave" (or whatever his name is) to respond to some very specific and reasonable questions, then this is sounding fishier and fishier.

Do read the entirety of my commentary. Ya think that randomly putting out a false "I was wronged, and I'm mad, dammit" kind of story has never happened before? Just to create a sense of general outrage against the oppressor du jour?

This is a public medium If you don't like the comments, then you don't have to read, and you can certainly censor your comments. I have remained nothing but polite to "Dave". Although my own patience is wearing thin now, finding it hard to believe that he (if he's really a "he") hasn't checked in to read these comments at all in a day. Of course there could be a reason (you know, if there really is a "reason") so I'll continue to keep an open mind.

Dave.... Oh, Dave!

George: I'm not saying that this has been faked. I'm asking (rather politely) for more information. I'm less polite to he rubes who can't balance tongue wagging and critical thinking, but that's another story.

Furthermore, if "Dave" has been told to keep it quiet by attornies, then he could help his own case a bit and simply say so.

And to the rest of you mindless circle wankers... take a breath and swallow. I hear it tastes salty!

SK said...

Fortunately, because the security guy is a federal union employee, nothing can be done to fire the ignoramus.

Back in the day, before airport security was nationalized, incompetent employees could be fired. But now, they're government union workers and can't be fired for any reason short of committing a felony.

But I agree with you. The alleged security guy was definitely trying to steal your luggage. He definitely needs additional training, or at least someone to beat some sense into his thick skull.

Alexi said...

Hehe...Of course, I meant to say that I'm not trolling for reaction.

Freudalian slip, or something like it.

Justin Lloyd said...

I am outraged for you sir, outraged! I mean this not in sarcasm or jest but I cannot believe the idiocy of this airport security worker to even consider you a non-person simply because you are in a wheelchair. So does that mean if I sit, an able bodied person, sit down on a seat next to my luggage that it is not attended either? The security worker in question is obviously a complete moron and doesn't belong in any position of authority or responsibility.

Anonymous said...

my favorite part is when you asked him if he was going to tazer you...i'm guessing you saw the video about the russian. i live in a pretty crazy town where we get lots of retards like that, too.

FridaWrites said...

Umm, last anonymous, you may want to read Dave's information on the "r" word. He works with people with developmental disabilities and many of us here are disabled or have children with disabilities.

Lee said...

Alexi, Dave has made another post about this, in which he specifically says that he is not going to publicize the details unless his ongoing discussions with the airline and airport get nowhere. You could have checked the post archive, but I suppose that would have been too much work -- and less fun than calling people names and putting on a pretense of superiority.

And yes, you are a troll -- what's called a "concern troll". You're deliberately and maliciously misapplying one of the guidelines for identifying a "friend of a friend" urban legend to a first-person account. Sexist and patronizing language is another Big Red Flag for troll identification, and you've been flinging that around like candy. You think nobody else is smart enough to recognize you for what you are, and you're dead wrong.

george.w said...

@ Alexi: "Hehe...Of course, I meant to say that I'm not trolling for reaction."

Don't be so modest - you got it right the first time.

H said...

Wow...that reminds me of something I witnessed at an airport not that long after 9/11.

I was standing there in my socks holding my beltless pants up, waiting to go through the detector. I looked over, and I saw that there was some guy in his 80's sitting in a wheelchair, shoeless of course. He had his arms half-raised as one security guy was attacking his belt, and the other guy grabbed his cane and carried it over to the other side of the detector. Then the first guy lifts him out of the chair and makes him stumble through the metal detector, where the other guy gives him his cane back and they bring another wheelchair up. Of course his pants had started falling down by that point. Is this the face of terrorism? It reminded me of every movie's portrayal of Soviet-era border crossings, with hard-faced corrupt officials harassing helpless travelers. Airport security is such a farce these days. Frankly, given that they can't stop real terrorist threats, I'd at least rather not put up with the hassle.

Anonymous said...

What an insensitive asshole that security guard was! I'm on crutches myself, and I know that if anyone ever did that to me at the airport, they'd rue the day they ever met me. I'm sorry this happened to you.

Mel said...

To "anonymous" vishir: After the experience I just had getting from San Diego to Dallas/Ft. Worth on Fri. night, I totally believe this could happen!

My co-worker, who has Lupus and fibromyalgia, and all the other passengers, were literally "dumped" at the airport near midnight, due to bad weather.

There were other disabled and elderly people on that flight and seen in the airport, as many flights arrived very late. There were no wheelchairs to be found, nor were there any driver carts operating. To make matters worse, the Skylink broke down, so people who had to get to other terminals had no choice but to walk.

We had to get to another terminal, and I knew the assistance office was on the way. It was open so I stopped in to inquire about getting a cart to take us the rest of the way to our gate, and was told "we shut down" - so much for the airport or airlines caring about their passengers!

The airport was very busy at that late hour do to weather delays and there was NO ONE to help these passengers out!

Matt said...

As a 7'er who's left planes with bloodied knees after sitting in seats designed for midgets, my only question is why haven't you sewed the pants off these a-holes yet?

Krishanna said...

Man, Dave. There are no words. I am rendered speechless. Man....

Anonymous said...

Wow! And I was offended when the TSA at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport informed my 17-year-old granddaughter that she couldn't carry her sleeping brace in her carry-on luggage (after a stroke when she was 14, she now wears a plastic leg brace during the day, a metal one at night to stretch the muscles and keep them from drawing up and "freezing"). Why? Because a metal leg brace is a weapon and can't be carried on board an airplane. That was wrong and bad, but YOUR experience is worse. Go get 'em -- and even if the taxpayers wind up paying off, I hope you sue, and I hope you win big. This is outrageous. MrsH -- Dallas, TX

The Boob Nazi said...

My brother was once accused of drunk driving because he has a limp. (Well, he was driving badly anyway) "Walk in a straight line, sir." "Um.... I can't really do that." I can definitely see something like this happening.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know which airport and terminal to ensure I give it a WIDE berth!

Fred said...

Has there been any follow up? Has the airport and security agency been told about this crap? Has the pilot been praised to his boss for stepping in and doing the right thing in a difficult situation?


What a mess.

sugar-for-sugar said...

He clearly stated that the luggage needed to be attended by some BODY. You know, the kind he's got stowed in his trunk to animate in his basement lab later, which he legally took as they were not being attended in the graveyard. Since you are alive, and therefore not a BODY, you're not fit to watch your own luggage.

Obviously, you're interfering with his dreams of zombie revolution. Which is really unacceptable, how dare you, you ikky person, with your fancy pumping blood and working brain and nonsense! It's just disgusting of you, standing up for your "rights," while good hard-working zombies everywhere mind their business and only moan grotesquely when they're about to devour the unclean living. It's a standard we all should aspire to and I for one am just DISGUSTED by you, you... you ALIVERS!

UGH.

(I'm sorry... well okay, no I'm not, but I still really couldn't resist this one after all the emphasis on some BODY watching the luggage... what a yutz. Just because your body doesn't work the way HE wants it to doesn't negate the fact that it is a body, and you are a fully capable luggage-watching human.)

Debbie Gleason said...

Outrageous.

Bad enough how our wheelchair bound daughter is treated when we fly. Do they think we would boobytrap her?

Priscilla said...

Wow, e here via LJ and I am shocked. Just reading your account I felt the way you must have felt- I am sure the whole thing felt very surreal.

I hope you get a satisfactory resolution and that people become more aware of this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

That's sad that the "security officer" didn't have a clue.

I will honestly say, there are some good, and some bad. I've encountered them all over the years.

You, in proximity to your stuff, with the ability to complain that your stuff was being molested, obviously made you in possession of your property.

I make a point of leaving some body part laying over my property. I sit on it, I put my feet up on it. I lay an arm over it. Whatever I have to do. I've fallen asleep in several airports because it's a long trip and something happened (canceled flight, long layover, 14 hours from Point A to Point B, and no sleep the night before, etc.), so body parts on my luggage ensure if someone tries to steal it, they'll have to move me to get to it.

I've talked to quite a few security officers. Some are nice. Actually, I've found the ones that go and take smoke breaks are the nicer ones. :) I'll catch them in the smoking lounge, and just start chatting.

When you're exposed to the public all day, you get jaded. There are a lot of rude people out there. But ignoring common decency and following your instructions to the letter are not the solution. It happens far too often though.

In the future, keep your situational awareness up. Get names, descriptions, etc. Not only for the sake of clarity in a complaint in a public forum, but when you write the complaint to the airport and TSA/Homeland Security (or the applicable agency in the country you're in), it helps.

For example....

------
While sitting by my luggage at XYZ airport, by luggage carousel C in terminal 3 on Wednesday April 29th 2009 at approximately 1300hrs local time, I was approached by security officer J. Doe (badge number 123456). He specifically said "..." and I politely responded "...", which he escalated to verbal abuse, as he attempted to deprive me of my private property. He threatened, and I believed he would cause, physical harm to me.

Captain John Smith of ABC Airlines came over after observing the commotion, and assisted in the situation, finally encouraging officer Doe to leave the scene.
------

Now, if I paraphrased this correctly, while obviously getting all the names and dates wrong, you would have gotten the officer in serious trouble, the captain a "atta-boy", and you yourself may be entitled to retribution.

In many places, threats of physical violence are assault, a misdemeanor, but since it was done in an airport, and you are a disabled person, it may have been a felony charge. Depending on the jurisdiction, you may be entitled to awards from the court, as cash from the fines applied to officer Doe and the airport authority.

Not that I'd say to instigate such a thing. That would likely end you up in jail. But, if you were as innocent as you reported, that's what the laws are suppose to protect.

You let it go when he left, other than reporting it here. That means he will be open to repeating this offense in the future, or making it worse. Yes, report people like this. Let him go flip burgers at McD, outside of the public view. He has no place in a public facing law enforcement capacity.

I've posted both "thank you's" and complaints about the airline system. There's both good and bad. I always thank the pilots when we get to the destination. Any landing you survive was a good one. :) People don't take the time very often to say "thank you", which is part of what makes a lot of public facing employees very jaded. It's as if no one cares. A little "thank you" goes a long way, when you mean it. Likewise, a scathing letter sends the opposite message.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Haha, I am 176th comment? Excellent. Of course your event happened, I have had people try to 'rescue' me, since I must (by being on my own) need help, and all over the world much less my own town.

However, the troll's right to say they need to read nothing, and then personally and emotionally assault you - that is hurtful and I am very sorry that happened to you; there seems to be someone on the disability blogs who wants more, more, more proof (why? Are they planning to right wrongs or are they just requiring someone with an impairment come up to arbitrary and new AB standards - a type of discrimination itself.

The reason names are concealed except for 'Dave Hindsburger' is that while YOU may complain, other people usually have the right to privacy and to be educated, to become allies. I believe this is why you are doing this, to try and give this person a chance to become an ally of the disabled, though you were the one who experienced the pain which made it clear training was needed. I apologize for the outragous assumptions and the pain that brought. On behalf of when I was AB, and part of the society that created such a world.

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Jake said...

I was just reading Candy Harrington's blog at http://www.emerginghorizons.com , and it brought me to this entry on your blog. I have never had an experience like the one you describe, but I am visually-impaired. I have flown several times with family members, and once I flew solo to Seattle and back. That was in the mid-90's, and I was very happy with the service I received. All airline employees with whom I came in contact treated me with dignity and respect. Upon my return home, I even wrote a letter thanking the airline in question and I received a nice response from them. But what happened to you doesn't sound good at all. From the way you describe it, it seems that more training by and of airport security personnel is in order. Have you heard about the National Federation of the Blind? They are an extremely radical organization who purport to advocate for those of us who are visually-impaired, and if you go to their website and do a search for "airline," or "airline industry" or something similar you will find some pretty interesting stuff. Their website is http://www.nfb.org . I honestly think you'll be quite shocked at what you read. Best of luck to you in your future travels, wherever they might take you.

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Paul said...

Call me behind the times, but I wasn't aware that disabled also included the inability to watch your own luggage. What a bonehead. I'm glad the pilot stuck up for you once he realized what was going on.

Paul In KCRP

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know which airport this occured in as I am getting ready to fly to Boston from Charlotte NC and I am disabled and I do not want this happening to me

Anonymous said...

You are so cruel! To make fun of that poor security guard, who is obviously dealing with his own severe mental retardation. Kudos to the airport for hiring people with such severe disabilities!

(with tongue firmly in cheek)

Anonymous said...

Dave - I just came across your blog describing your horrible experience. Sorry to hear about what happened to you. Did anything ever come of your correspondence with the airport authority? Thanks,
Brandon M. Macsata
Executive Director
Association for Airline Passenger Rights
www.flyfriendlyskies.com

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Dr. Psycho said...

I tried and I tried to come up with an explanation for this incident that wasn't based on the presumption that a person in a wheelchair is mentally incompetent to look after his/her own luggage.

I failed.

Lis Riba said...

Links to this post are making the rounds.

Noticing the date of this entry, I'm wondering what kind of response you got from the airport when you confronted them over this egregious behavior.

I tried reading ahead, but couldn't find an entry about the airport's reply. [You may wish to update the post itself with a link to that entry for future readers.]

Thanks, and best wishes for a better 2010.

oldfeminist said...

It seems obvious to me what the guard thought when he saw you and your luggage was:

"Damn! Some jerk left their bags *and* their cripple unattended."

Anonymous said...

I feel for your suffering but I am afraid there are many such incidents out there.

I can give circumstantial details of an incident at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Monday, Dec. 28, 2009. I and many other people were waiting at the public bus stop (Metrobus B30, to Greenbelt) outside BWI's International Arrivals in the early evening. I waited from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The bus supposedly comes every 40 minutes. It came by twice and would not stop to pick anybody up, including a black guy in a wheelchair. (The bus stop is clearly labeled.)

It was right after the Underwear Bomber incident, so I can only suppose that the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority didn't want any international arrivals on their buses or in the subway system (most of the people waiting looked like D.C. residents or university students).

I am not looking for a lawsuit of course, but I do feel that BWI and Metrobus owe me my cab fare of over $60! It is also not worth anybody's while to complain to WMATA.

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Penny Green said...

To Anonymous who said this was BS and those who have suggested that Dave is not even disabled, have you ever met him? Obviously not!

I had the pleasure last August in Dublin, Ireland and I can vouch for the fact that he is disbaled and uses a wheelchair, but that like many people in the same situation he tries to be as independent as possible.

And as to the comments about getting assistance, as organised as you are that doesn't always help. Several years ago I was on crutches after knee surgery and had to attend an importnat meeting in London. I could access the train fine locally but needed help at Euston to get to the taxi rank, but when I got off the train no-one was there to meet me. Eventually as I hobbled along the platform someone arrived on a buggy full of apologies as he'd been told the wrong platform.

Also in 2006 my mum was taken ill on holiday in Jersey and I had to fly out to come home with her (doctors orders and insurance paid for my flight and accomodation before you think she wasn't that bad). At Jersey airport they had a wheelchair ready and were most helpful with luggage and accompanied us to the departure lounge and onboard, but when we got back to the UK they got us off the plane with a wheelchair and left us in baggage reclaim after telling me where to leave the wheelchair. So I had mum in a wheelchair, two suitcases and a laptop bag to cope with - go figure!

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