A TSA Agent Swiped Away at My Groin. A Fellow Agent Came Over to Cheer Him On

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

It was Election time, so I wanted to leave the country.

Fortunately, Web Summit in Lisbon coincided perfectly, so more than a week ago, my wife and I moved through a relatively empty San Francisco Airport, ready to get away.

I went through the TSA’s Body Scanner and suddenly, a beep.

I knew there was nothing in my pockets. However, the TSA agent said: 

The machine says there’s something in your groin area.

There’s no palatable answer to that. The agent continued that he’d have to perform a more thorough search of my groin. And buttocks.

He gave me the option of a private room, but frankly I’d prefer not to be sequestered away with a lone TSA agent if I can help it. 

Whatever he was going to do, I wanted it out in the open.

And so he began. My buttocks and my groin were given a thorough — some might even say enthusiastic — wiping.

His arms moved from side to side in the manner of a speed skater, desperate to take the last turn in first place. The contact was, how can I put it, firm. 

But then a fellow TSA agent came over and felt forced to cheerlead. In a deeply admiring tone, he roared: 

Look at his moves!

Please forgive me, but it’s bad enough when you’re being publicly examined like a show horse at the breeder’s office.

To have some hearty bro’ come over and add his enthusiastic fandom made me rather want to pull him aside and ask about his priorities in life.

Instead, of course, you know there’s no point in saying anything, so you take the humiliation and move on.

I contacted the TSA to ask whether bro’-down cheerleading of intimate examinations is part of its standard procedure.

The administration referred me to Covenant Aviation Security, which has the contract for security work at the airport. It says it’ll investigate.

There is, though, an even broader issue here.

When you have a sensitive job, it might still be dull. It’s always worth remembering, however, that the people you’re dealing with aren’t enjoying what you do one bit.

They may — or may not — accept the necessity for it. They’d appreciate, though, a little aforethought on your part.

As we walked away — yes, the machine had been entirely mistaken — my wife turned to me and said: 

Did he really say that?

My personal scanner indicates at least one agent might work on the Respect part.

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Joan Guzman