We’ve all heard the stories of outrageous acts at airport security checkpoints—such as TSA agents patting down grandmas and toddlers for concealed weapons and prohibited items.
But those incidents don’t hold a candle to the TSA agent at St. Louis’ Lambert Airport who confiscated a tiny toy pistol from the holster of a passenger’s sock monkey as the woman passed through security last week.
Phyllis May—a Redmond, Washington resident who operates a small craft business and sells sock monkeys—was preparing to board a Seattle flight with her spouse when a TSA agent spotted one of her dolls, a cowboy-themed creation she calls “Rooster Monkburn,” after John Wayne’s True Grit character.
The monkey’s outfit included a cowboy hat, eye patch, bandanna, boots and a tiny plastic replica pistol in a holster.
“[The agent] held it up and said, ‘whose is this?’ I realized, oh my god, this is my bag,” May later told Seattle’s KING5 News.
“She said, ‘This is a gun.’ I said, ‘No, it’s not a gun; it’s a prop for my monkey.’”
The agent told May she would have to confiscate the tiny gun and was required to notify the authorities.
“I said, ‘Well go ahead.’ And I said, ‘Really? You’re kidding me right?’ And she said, ‘No, it looks like a gun.’”
In the end, obviously succumbing to an overdue attack of common sense, the agent did not summon police and May was able to keep her bag containing sewing supplies.
A TSA statement on the incident read, in part: “TSA officers are dedicated to keeping the nation’s transportation security systems safe and secure for the traveling public. Under longstanding aircraft security policy, and out of an abundance of caution, realistic replicas of firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags.”
I challenge North American Hunting Club members to share a more outrageous personal TSA story.