I thought I’d share a story about a co-worker of mine’s experience working at the airport here in Kansas City, MO. I obviously am not going to provide the person’s name, but I will provide a little background information about her so that you can see how unusual this was for her.
The day was normal enough; passengers were coming through and unloading their pockets and the necessary items from their bags: laptop, liquids, etc. For the purposes of the story I’ll say that Mary was doing her job of helping people with reminders of what they needed to remove. At the time, TSA had really been harping on “engaging” the passenger and pushing for a more one-on-one interaction versus the carnival barking that most of you have experienced.
As Mary was assisting two lanes, she noticed that a woman was struggling to get her property situated and items removed. Mary wasn’t really comfortable with this new policy of being up close and personal with passengers because she has some personal space issue, but she was trying to do what she was being asked to do. Mary is also pretty shy and doesn’t enjoy trying to make small talk with people she doesn’t know that well—kind of ironic being that she has to deal with so many people day-to-day.
Mary approached the woman that she had noticed struggling and said hello and then it happened, the moment she dreads to this day: she looked at her and said, “You look like you could use another hand,” she said as she kind of chuckled.
The woman’s shoulders kind of slumped and she looked to Mary and turned a bit more toward her and nodded as she said, “Yes, yes I could.”
When the woman turned toward Mary, she turned white with horror when she saw that the woman did indeed have only one arm. It was more glaringly obvious at this point because she had removed her prosthetic and placed it in the plastic bin to avoid having to undergo additional screening.
Upon seeing this, Mary muttered and stammered through an apology and quickly made her exit to avoid any further humiliation.
Mary can laugh about it now, but she says she still doesn’t know why she said that to the passenger. I just tell her it was fate, so that I would have something to embarrass her about forever.