We’ve been back from our vacation for a week now. This feed should have been filled with vacation photos. Instead, I spent the past week consoling my 23-month-old baby trying to wrap my head around what happened to us at the airport.
We were coming back home from Orlando International Airport, and my husband and I were flagged “SSSS” or Secondary Security Screening Selection. According to TSA’s website it states that children under 12 can keep their shoes on, they will not be separated from their parent, and a parent may carry their child in arms through the walk-through metal detector.
None of this held true for us. We were told to remove my baby’s shoes and that he needed to come down from my arms and walk through the metal detector alone. It was past Saleh’s nap time and we were surrounded by officers in an unfamiliar place, can you blame a child for wanting to remain in his mama’s arms where he felt safe? Unfortunately for Saleh, these officers showed no sympathy for a child.
It was a struggle trying to get a crying Saleh who had firmly wrapped his arms around my neck to undo his grip and get him to walk alone through the metal detector where another two officers stood waiting for him. We tried and tried and tried, but it just wasn’t enough for the officer in charge who was hellbent on making Saleh walk through without me. I pleaded asking if it was possible for us to go through together and if the alarms went off then we could try it again separately. My suggestion was immediately shot down. She literally told us we had two options. Oblige or leave the airport. and instead the officer responded by telling Saleh he had to be a big boy.
As Saleh continued to scream and cry resisting to walk the officer kept raising her voice at Saleh repeating “You need to be a big boy.” She made us walk through the metal detector over and over again. My husband who had already gone through the metal detector was told he couldn’t come near Saleh. After all the ruckus Saleh created and after repeatedly asking, My husband was finally allowed to come to the other end of the metal detector to encourage Saleh to go to him.
Next they dumped the contents of our bags and ran their residue strips literally over every inch of everything. The first time the guy ran our bags through the scanner and looked through our bags then the head officer who had given my son a hard time came over and said the search he had done wasn’t enough and to dump everything out and search better. They took out the soles of our shoes and opened all of my sons baby food containers.
Source: Instagram @feel_good_fam