Let’s face it: a lot of people really don’t like the Transportation Security Administration. They don’t like waiting in lines to go through security, they don’t like the uniformed officers telling them to take their laptops out of bags and to remove their shoes, and belts, and overcoats before they go through screening, and they don’t like having to madly scramble around to reassemble their attire and gather their things after they come rolling out of the x-ray machine.
So when people heard about TSA officers taking steps that kept a gigantic teddy bear off a plane, and then posting, on Instagram, a sad photo of the bear, slumped over next to a trash can, people were quick to label the TSA this year’s Grinch. They assumed the bear was a gift for a kid and thought the TSA was heartless.
The real story, though, is that the TSA was just doing its job — and the bear wasn’t a gift for a kid at all, it was part of an effort by an adult man to make a YouTube video. After the outcry about the pathetic abandoned bear, the TSA explained that even though the YouTuber had a ticket for the bear, the bear was simply too large and too dense to be effectively screened. In fact, the TSA has previously found a disassembled gun and ammunition hidden in stuffed animals. If the TSA can’t effectively screen a carry-on item, then obviously that item shouldn’t go onto a plane. And the airline also determined that the bear was too big to go into the cabin of the airplane, anyway.
So I’m with the TSA on this one. Going through security at airports is a pain, but the vast majority of the TSA officers I’ve encountered in my travels are friendly, professional, and just trying to do their job. If anybody deserves the blame for the pathetic Teddy Bear Tale, it’s the guy who thought it would be a good idea to create a potential problem for the TSA and an airline just to make a YouTube video. It’s totally inconsiderate — toward the TSA, toward the airline, and toward other travelers who might have found themselves on a plane with a guy who’s trying to carry an oversized teddy bear down the crowded aisle and then seat the bear next to some unsuspecting traveler who’s just trying to get home.
Does everybody have to make YouTube videos about everything these days? We’ve got enough to worry about without self-absorbed people trying to get a few minutes of internet attention coming up with stunts that inconvenience the rest of the world.