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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bullies not welcome here

So here's the thing. I am tired of being bullied at the airport.
You see I have a medical device implanted in my body. This means every time I go through airport security, which is at least twice a week, I have to show my special card and have a manual pat down. No I do not get to choose a cute guy do do this; I am assigned a female officer. 
Frequently the officer directs me to turn my back on my articles (laptop, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, shoes, coat, belt, you know) which are spread all over the belt.
Frequently I explain that I would prefer to see my articles so they do not go missing.
And yes frequently I am told harshly that no one is going to steal my things, that I should not accuse these nice people of being thieves, that I will do as I am told, that if I refuse I can not proceed, blah blah blah.
And you know, I usually need to get on the flight and I usually comply.
But a couple of times things have gone missing. A newly purchased blue tooth headset. A newly purchased Kindle. And gone is gone.
Which brings me to this morning. My 4AM wake up call allowed me to miss the traffic and arrive at the airport with some time to spare. So when the officer told me to turn my back on my articles I said, 
"If you don't mind I would prefer to keep an eye on my things. Could I face that direction instead?"
You would have thought I had threatened someones life. Seriously this woman went ballistic. She made such a huge fuss I thought I should do something. So I caught the eye of someone who appeared to be higher ranking, and asked him to please intervene. He was kind, but said I would have to comply.
I then asked to speak to the appropriate supervisor.
Soon I was surrounded by 6 security personnel. The security line shut down. They were all suddenly focused on me and the problem I was apparently causing. 
Was I intimidated? No. I was too pissed off to be scared.
I stood my ground. I explained the situation. My unfriendly female pat down artist tried to lie, saying I had never suggested an alternative, such as me facing my things and her moving instead. I looked her right in the eye and repeated the real sequence of events.
And you know what: it felt good.
You know what else: I made my plane with time to spare. And an apology from the guy in charge. And a big old smile from one of the other security guys who seemed kind of proud of me.
All this to say: you have rights. Do not allow your need to get somewhere negate those rights. Ever.
Think of it this way; if you allow them to bully you, you are also allowing them to bully someone much less capable of standing up for themselves.

12 comments:

  1. Way to go! One small step for Melanie, one large step for the kind, quiet people! (No, Melanie you are not quiet - even though you are very kind.)

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    1. Thanks for the laugh. And the compliment!

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  2. Thank you for this...much needed! Good for you

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  3. Sorry to hear about the ordeal. As a friend, it is tough to imagine somebody giving you a hard time since you are very good at saying things the right way.

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  4. Good work on your part. Maybe it will be easier for others who follow. It's also good to be proud of yourself for standing up for what's right. Bravo!

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  5. The airlines are always asking you if you allowed your luggage to get out of your site. You would think that they would be happy that you wanted to keep your eyes on your goods.

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    1. Yes Roger I am at a loss to explain this. It can be very frustratimg.

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