Airport Security Fired For Calling Passenger Ugly

Filed Under: Security/TSA

What on earth is wrong with people?

A Rochester Airport security worker has been fired following what she did earlier this summer. First of all it’s worth clarifying that Rochester Airport doesn’t use the TSA, but rather contracts out to another company, so this wasn’t a TSA agent.

A passenger was traveling through the airport in late June, and as he went through the metal detector one of the security guards handed him a note, which said “you ugly” on it. How classy!

Here’s video footage of the incident:

The way things unfolded, you can see her at roughly the 40 second mark of the video grabbing a note. She then hands it to the guy as he walks through the metal detector — the guy didn’t initially look at the note, but as he walked off the lady allegedly yelled at him “you gonna open the note?” Once he did, she burst out laughing.

The guy obtained this video through a Freedom of Information request, which was only recently completed. Apparently he didn’t get very far having formally filed his complaint, so he then posted the video on Reddit, where it went viral. That’s when action was taken against the employee in question.

While the security company didn’t initially provide a comment on the incident, the TSA did issue the following statement:

“TSA holds contractors to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for this type of behavior. This instance, which involved a contract employee, was investigated immediately upon receiving the complaint by the traveler. The employee has since been terminated by the contractor.”

Based on how the lady kept looking over at someone else, I almost wonder if this was some sort of a dare, or something?

Ultimately it doesn’t matter what the motivation was. What a horrible, stupid thing to do. There are enough terrible things out there, so whether it was meant or not, it was completely inappropriate.

  1. hold on a second… Airports DO feel like middle school with wings!
    – crowded and underfunded
    – bad odors
    – young kids running about
    – overpriced and nutritionally barren food
    – somewhere you go to just to get to the next place
    – and now, newest feature: bullying by passing notes!
    I used to love the line “if idiots can fly, then my middle school is an airport”, which I guess has come full circle.

  2. “This instance, which involved a contract employee, was investigated immediately upon receiving the complaint by the traveler.”

    Did TSA actually mean to say this: …investigated immediately after the video went viral…

  3. Glad she got the boot. Aside from being pathetic and grossly inappropriate, it would also be a classic pot/kettle situation ,if in fact she meant it.

  4. Sir I deeply apologize for referring to you as ugly
    but here is a banana as you look quite a bit like a monkeyyyyyyyy too
    Kidding aside that woman wasn’t going to win any beauty awards lol

  5. He may or may not be ugly – that’s subjective.

    On the other hand…

    “She illiterate.” That’s a proven fact.

  6. You would think a obese, black woman would fully understand how terrible being judgemental about appearance is.

  7. Funny how reactions would be different if we switch their roles.

    From a black woman giving a note to a white man to a white man giving a note to a black woman.

  8. Towards the end of the video (1:35), she tears off another piece from the kleenex box and gets out her pen, presumably to write another such note.

  9. I will travel to USA soon for the first time. Can’t wait to see this low class country… but the best will be when i leave. And i will never come back. What is this country all about? Even if i never been ther i can’t wait to be on the plane home. There are some retards over there!

  10. @godblessamerica
    That is an unfair assessment. As a foreigner who travels to the US regularly, I have to say it is mostly a pleasure to visit. Every place has good and bad, but on balance the good stuff outweighs the bad.

    Have a great trip and enjoy yourself. Don’t worry about these incidents. Smile, and the world will smile with you.

  11. God bless America why don’t you do us all a favor and just stay home. You’re comment ” low class country” shows your lack of intelligence

  12. If someone white handed a note to someone black there would be outrage yet if someone black hands a note to someone white it is an inappropriate thing, a joke or an awe shucks moment. The level of anti white racism in the mainstream media and academia is very apparent.

  13. this is high school bully material. she clearly doesn’t understand how important her job is. disgraceful and i hope she learns her lesson.

  14. This is exactly what’s wrong with our country right now. When did we all become so sensitive and touchy? Yeah it was unprofessional, but who cares?? It was a harmless prank and I would’ve laughed and thrown the note away and forgotten about it in 5 seconds. But no, Mr “offended” wanted his 15 seconds of fame, and when he didn’t get the response he wanted from the TSA, he turned to the most reputable source there is; the internet (can you taste my sarcasm yet?). The TSA was ready to handle this internally with probably a benign slap on the wrist and she never would’ve passed a note again. Now she IS fired with cause, and probably will have a very difficult time obtaining a job. Meanwhile Mr. sensitive gets his internet fame. Whoop de dooo. C’mon everyone, what happened to our sense of humor, common sense and conscience. Some things deserve attention. This situation… deserves ZERO.

  15. Because she’s black woman and he’s white young man, nobody calls racist.

    Calling somebody ugly is DISCRIMINATION for sure.

    What if the agent is white male and the passenger is black woman? What would you say? BLM?

    Liberal double standards really astonish me.

  16. NO! STOP everyone! This is NOT a black lives matter, or discriminatory issue or anyyyything of the sort! This isn’t even a crime! For goodness sake this is a middle school detention issue AT BEST. Someone made an unprofessional prank at their workplace, and folks are treating it like the next headline social injustice. I just can’t even anymore…

  17. @John

    Really? Like many have pointed out. If a white man does it.
    It’s racist. It’s sexist. It’s body shaming.

    This country does have a double standard. Real equality is still a myth.

    I totally agree with you that this is middle school pranks. Most people think way too far. You see how far and messed up this great nation has become.

  18. Lots of undiagnosed mental illness in the United States, unfortunately. I love this country with all my heart but you don’t see these kinds of behaviors in other nations.

  19. @John. Well, I agree with your first sentence. After that, all you do is defend exactly what’s wrong with this country. That being hateful is now acceptable is EXACTLY what’s wrong with our country. I’d be totally unsurprised to find that how people feel about this woman’s behavior (and the victim’s response) correlates highly with their political affiliation.

  20. Really. You really think this woman is hateful? It was a prank, a joke, nothing more. There is no political commentary, despite everyone’s attempt to make something out of nothing for their own attention. I don’t even know why I’m still responding; too many beers.

  21. Whatever happened to doing the right thing and treating strangers with respect? USA – The Greatest Country on Earth? Behavoir and administrative indiscipline and cowardice like those demonstrated here make on doubt that assertion.

  22. @John

    There is a time and place for good humour and jokes. The airport is clearly not that place. Wrong is wrong. And no amount of shrugging it off can make it right. People get away with this stuff because most folks are too scared/timid to confront bad behaviour. It matters not how ‘small’ bad behaviour is. If you don’t correct it an early stage it just gets bigger and worse. This is classic bully behaviour at an ‘official’ level; all the more reason to come down hard on that ignoramus.

  23. Will this young white male get millions of dollars in an “out if court settlement”, like it would be if it was the other way around?

  24. It would be smart of this guy to claim being a victim of racism and sexism. Just to see what happens.

  25. So to some this is ‘just a joke, a prank’. In some circumstances it would be, although still highly disrespectful in my eyes. But, this is an airport security line. Definitely a ‘no jokes’ area. What do you think would happen if the roles were reversed, the passenger playing the same prank on the security guard, even apart from gender or color? I bet the passenger would miss the flight. So what gives this woman the right to act like this? None. Terminating her job seems harsh, but she is in the wrong line of business.

  26. @john “When did we all become so sensitive and touchy?”

    If I was going along minding my own business, and a complete stranger handed me such a note, you’d better believe I’d go right to the sensitive and touchy end of the spectrum. If your job is SO boring that you feel the need to insult people to pass the time, it’s time to find another job.

    Oh, wait — that’s what she’s doing 😀 I do hope her boss handed her a note saying “you fired” 😀

    Good luck with that, loser — hope this one says on what the Catholic-school nuns used to call “your permanent record.”

  27. I think as long as there is harrassment of much grander scale against so many PoCs and women, this pales in comparison. However, I am not surprised that she gets fired for this.

    I always forget lotions and creams in my backpack and almost never get flagged down for it, but regularly see how they try to take away baby food from young mothers travelling with their babies. A couple of months ago I was able to take a 500ml bottle of body lotion through security and a PoC behind me had to strip down because he had a shirt and a sweatshirt on, and while they were at it, they also checked his laptop and he followed all the rules.

    What happened to this guy in the video is the exception but we have accepted all of the above as normal. Lucky, it would serve this site well to also get a PoCs perspective on travel. Part of why I read your blog is because you are not a straight man and you have some insights that help me broaden my understanding of the world. I would appreciate some more insights in this regard tho. It might attract a ton of readers that might not feel represented enough elsewhere.

    But of course outrage over calling someone ugly is necessary.

  28. @Shaun

    The airport is clearly not that place for terrorist jokes, or weapons joke. But a note saying ugly is clearly a prank.

    “The guy obtained this video through a Freedom of Information request”
    A US black person would see it as a white guy trying to oppress a black girl, white supremacy.
    A US white person would see it as justice must prevail, I will not tolerate anything, I must to what is right.
    The middles school kids would see it as simply getting even.
    The rest of the world would see it as a waste of time to even get videos.

    Real equality is still a myth.

  29. A couple of thoughts:
    1) I’ve passed through ROC many times, most recently departed there twice this month.

    2) The video shows the east-most security lane, which is Pre-Check.

    3) ROC uses a 3rd party contractor, NOT TSA union workers.

    4) I’ve found the ROC security workers to be MUCH more friendly and common-sense than the usual TSA union staff. I’ve never heard them barking out orders and they’ve always been very polite and pleasant. I pulled a random the one time and the worker was so apologetic, professional, and honest about it. I almost felt sorry for him having to give me a government grope, as I refuse to use the nude-o-scope.

    5) Considering that >500 of the TSA union workers have been arrested for everything from child sex to cocaine smuggling to stealing from passengers, I actually have more faith in a 3rd party.

    6) If this was your typical TSA union worker, the worst they’d get was their supervisor telling them not to do that again. With this being a private contractor, they’re able to fire unprofessional employees at will, which I believe is a good thing.

    7) Was this a fireable offense? I’m torn. Did anyone die? No. Security risk? No. Bad judgement? Absolutely. Would that poor judgement translate into problems later on? Hard to say, but at the very least they wouldn’t be working a public-facing position for me for a very long time. At worst, I’d say they weren’t taking their job seriously and sack them.

    8) I have to give ROC airport credit for their recent renovation. Almost purely cosmetic (new lighting, some wood trim, new bathrooms, nicer seating) but it’s made a huge improvement.

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