Dallas, TX — A 12-year-old girl confined to a wheelchair due to a genetic bone disorder was detained for nearly an hour at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
On Sunday, Shelbi Walser and her mother, Tammy Daniels, were traveling to Florida to seek treatment for the girl’s disorder. She had never had a problem getting through security before, but this time TSA believed she had bomb residue on her hands.
“It was frightening,” Walser said. “I kinda got mad.”
The agents would not allow Daniels to get close to her crying daughter to comfort her, so she instead recorded the incident on her cellphone.
“Are you kidding me,” Daniels said in the video. “We’re going to get you out of here in a second, okay?”
Daniels continued, “I said, ‘What do you mean? What did you test her for?’ ‘Oh she tested positive for explosive residue.’ Okay… at that point you would think they would test her wheelchair, but they did nothing. Everything just seemed to spiral out.”
A bomb specialist then showed up and several agents began talking on their phones while other passengers spoke up in sport of the 12-year-old.
“There were people saying, ‘Really? You’re going to do this to her? Y’all have to take her somewhere private where she’s not out in the public and everyone can see her,” Walser said.
Her mother said the agents suddenly told them they were free to go and said nothing about it being a false alarm.
“It was a little much. I don’t know what to learn from this one. Somebody, they need to go back to the drawing board on this one,” Daniels said.
TSA responded with a statement that read in part:
“TSA’s mission is to safely, efficiently and respectfully screen nearly two million passengers each day at airports nationwide. We are sensitive to the concerns of passengers who were not satisfied with their screening experience and we invite those individuals to provide feedback to TSA through a variety of channels.”