The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) seems to be emerging as a slightly more sinister version of the Keystone Cops, managing to really only ever make the news for spectacularly bungling something — in this case, spilling a beloved grandfather’s ashes and then… wait for it… laughing about the incident as the horrified passenger attempted to scoop his loved one’s mortal remains up with his hands on a busy terminal floor.
It sounds almost too horrific to be true, but one Indianapolis man explains the sad tale. And when you take into account their detention of Rand Paul, their several bizarre and dehumanizing screw-ups surrounding nursing mothers and their strong stance against cupcakes, would you really put desecration of cremains past the TSA?
It all began when John Gross of Indiana decided to take his grandpa’s ashes home from Florida, in a container clearly marked “human remains.” And like a horrifying real-life scene from a bad slapstick comedy, the TSA agent wasn’t ready to take Gross at his word that the container contained his grandpa’s remains.
Gross describes a very sad and very distressing situation ensuing:
“They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,’ …She picked up the jar. She opened it up… I was told later on that she had no right to even open it, that they could have used other devices, like an X-ray machine. So she opened it up. She used her finger and was sifting through it. And then she accidentally spilled it.'”
Can you imagine a situation more distressing than accidentally spilling someone’s grandpa’s ashes in public? Apparently, the incident wasn’t as upsetting to the TSA agent, as Gross continues:
“She didn’t apologize. She started laughing. I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me.”
Gross says that all he wants is someone to say “sorry” to him:
“I want an apology… I want an apology from TSA. I want an apology from the lady who opened the jar and laughed at me. I want them to help me understand where they get off treating people like this.”
The TSA’s own website states that cremains are not to be opened by screeners under any circumstances.