Screening travelers at the airport for weapons or dangerous items is definitely a necessity these days. Perhaps even taking off one’s shoes, albeit inconvenient, is acceptable if it prevents a terrorist from lighting up his shoes like the shoe bomber was planning to do mid flight. But what is NOT acceptable is the generalized hostile behavior and the rudeness of TSA screeners at the airport towards innocent travelers. After seeing this up close and personal, I decided to do something about it and contacted the TSA.
On my recent trip to Orlando, Florida and back I did some research and studied the body language and vocal tones of ALL of the TSA workers I observed and found that 98 percent exhibited hostile body language and vocal tones. There were only a small 2 percent who said“ please” or thank you to passengers or had a smile. I also witnessed that the hostile attitudes of the workers often resulted in some type of angry tone and hostile interchange with various travelers.
Because I was feeling so bad after I finished passing through the airport security line as opposed to my feeling so good when I entered the line, I decided to see if other passengers were feeling as badly and to objectively observe what it was in the screeners actions and body language was making passengers feel so bad.
In my particular case, I was happy, chipper and excited when I entered the line because I was going to the other “happiest place on earth” besides California’s Disneyland. I was going to Florida’s Disney World to see Epcot and most important of all, to take my precious, wonderful and adorable mother on a surprise to see her favorite singer in the world, Argentinean performer Daniel Bouchet. He happened to be performing in Orlando on a Saturday night, so I decided to surprise my mom with a weekend trip to Orlando to see him. I was also feeling good because I just completed writing the last chapter of my latest book so it was a kind of reward trip for me as well.
But as soon as I took off my shoes and placed them in the container where I placed my laptop, I was jarred by the barking hostile loud staccato tone that said “don’t put your shoes there!” “Laptops have to be separate!” I then took the shoes out and stuck them on the conveyor belt to which I was barked at in a disgusted hostile tone “ You have to put your shoes a container!” Now I had to get a container even though other people were in line. So I did what she said. I passed through the line, but her tones left me a little shaken.
I recalled another incident I observed a month earlier when I flew to NYC a I heard a TSA officer yell at an attractive young woman wearing a jogging outfit to take off her jacket .which was actually not a jacket but the other half of her jogging outfit. Politely I heard the young woman say with a smile that it wasn’t a jacket but her top“ Then I heard “You have to take off all jackets!” The girl once again pleaded and told the TSA worker she had nothing underneath just a bra.” In a robotic reply in a hostile tone was “ All jackets have to be taken off” as she made the girl a glass booth after she called a supervisor. Then a supervisor and a team of other TSA worker, let the young woman pass. By this time the young woman was clearly visibly shaken up.
It was not only humiliating for the young woman, but it was an upsetting thing for passengers to see because “there by the grace go them.” It could happen to anyone based on the whim of a TSA security worker or their ignorance as it was in this case or their robotic blindness to follow the rule of “no jacket wearing,” without using their common sense or a modicum of flexibility.
But back to back to my experience after I went through the security. After collecting my bags I stood at the end of the line just to examine the faces of other travelers who may now be feeling as bad I was after going through the security check. I decided to specifically look for specific facial “tells” on their faces to determine tension and upset. Almost everyone I looked, until I had to leave to catch my flight, shared the same expression of having some degree of facial tension.
Although I didn’t hear any altercations between passengers and TSA security workers at this juncture, I thought back to the countless times I did observe an alteration between an upset passenger with a hostile and rude security guard. In recalling back, there is no doubt that tone of voice and body language were the contributing elements to the upset.
On my way back from Orlando I clearly observed these aggressive hostile body language and facial language and hateful tones by most of the TSA workers. One in particular a large morbidly obese woman of color spoke to an elderly woman in a wheelchair in such an ugly tone that it upset the woman to the point she was visibly shaken. The woman complained about the TSA officer running her dirty gloved hands through the woman’s hear twice. The woman assured her that there were no weapons of mass destruction on her hair and the security worker responded in a hostile manner.
There was absolutely no need for this and I clearly let this be known by contacting the with the supervisor and sharing with him what I had seen his employee do to the innocent woman. He made note of it and said he would speak to the TSA worker about it.
It was then and thee that I came up with a better idea. I thought that I should be speaking to ALL TSA workers about it. I should be giving the seminars in how to Communicate the passengers in a respectful manner and not create unnecessary hostile reactions and upset innocent people all day long. I needed to show them how to comport themselves not only using the right tones and words but the right Body Language as well so that they won’t create defensive reactions.
I also needed to show them what to look for in screening those who may be terrorists. I needed to teach them the specific “tells” that terrorists and others who wish to commit nefarious acts do with their bodies, faces, and tone of voice and speech patterns. I needed to show them we what to look for so that they don’t harass innocent passengers and treat them like terrorists.
The horrific behaviors of the TSA Screeners have essentially turned them into terrorists who terrorize innocent travelers. After speaking with several stewardesses I was informed that business is down. They shared that many people simply aren’t flying as much anymore and they lost a lot of business Why should they fly? If they are treated so poorly and harassed every time they fly, many feel, why bother? The airlines have lost a lot of business because of the improperly trained and hostile behaviors of the TSA Screeners. I am convinced of that.
TSA can still catch terrorists or potential terrorists with verbal honey rather than vinegar. They can still catch “evil doers” with a smile and a kindwords as opposed to treating every one as if they were ready to blow up a plane. Through their hostile and rude actions, they are blowing up the travel industry with less people flying.
When pilots with their proper identifications and security checks aren’t allowed to carry on their standard tool boxes onto a plane to fix things on the plane in flight, that is a huge problem. If TSA worried about the pilot’s identity why not do what they did at Epcot where they take everyone’s fingerprint as they go through the turnstile? Why not match the pilot’s fingerprints with a pilot fingerprint database. If he passes the check, give him his box of tools so he can fix something onboard mid-flight that could save a passenger’s lives.
Instead of moaning and groaning, I did something about my observations. This morning sent an email to TSA offering up my services to train security workers how to a. treat passengers with respect and b. how to screen for real terrorists., not innocent men, women, and children. Hopefully they will respond. Hopefully they will allow me to provide them with a seminar that can result in making a difference the next time to decided to go to the airport and take you next trip. http://www.drlillianglass.com