Originally published April 13 2014
TSA bans disabled mute woman from flying because she could not speak
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) A woman has claimed that a Transportation Security Administration screening agent at the Los Angeles International Airport refused to allow her disabled sister to board a plane because she was unable to say her own name.
The New York Post reported that Sherry Wright was shocked at the treatment they both received at LAX, where her sister was due to fly to Phoenix.
The report said the problems began when Heidi, who was left bound to a wheelchair and unable to write or speak following a stroke a decade ago, was stopped by the TSA because of an expired driver's license, according to CNN.
Wright says the TSA agent was rude and insensitive and demanded that Heidi speak. "I showed her ID, her (Social Security card) and her DMV papers," Wright said, but it didn't seem to matter.
"He just wanted me to make my sister talk, and I couldn't believe it. I was just standing there, tears were coming out and I was like, 'Are you serious? We can't get her to talk,'" Wright said.
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez told local the local ABC news affiliate that the agency regrets the incident.
"I think it could have been handled differently by the TSA and it probably could have been handled differently by the family, and hopefully moving forward the family won't have this problem again, because they know about the programs that we have in place," Melendez said.
The reports did not mention what "programs" the oft-criticized agency has "in place" that Americans are supposed to know about which would help TSA agents understand that when someone has suffered a massive stroke, they are often left without the ability to speak.
In fact, this sounds like more of a TSA training problem than an "American traveler not knowing about agency programs" problem. You've got to love how federal agencies like the TSA consistently find a way to blame Americans for their bureaucratic inertia and operational incompetence, rather than take responsibility for then and find ways to better serve the public.
As for Wright, her sister was forced to take an eight-hour bus trip to get back to Phoenix. Needless to say, she has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security, to which the NSA belongs.
Good luck with that, Ms. Wright.
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