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Sensitivity Isn’t Native To This Coworker

, , , , , , , , , | Working | December 4, 2021

I work for the TSA. Most of you don’t like that very much. I am terribly sorry for the things that cause our negative reputation. I know it’s well deserved. I really am sorry.

I personally need the health insurance very badly and appreciated the $22-per-hour starting wages — which have gone up since then — pretty well.

One of my coworkers is patting down a Native woman. The woman has two long braided lengths of hair. My coworker grabs the braids and makes a “giddyap” motion like one would do with reins on a horse and says, “Hu-ha! Giddyap, cowboy!”

They put the coworker on bin running for a few months and made her take a sensitivity class.

I still feel bad about this.

There’s Really No Diplomatic Way To Handle This

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 2, 2021

My son and I were on the last row of an airline flight. Three teens were in the seats across the aisle. They seemed quiet during the flight and I really didn’t pay attention to them. Then, it happened. They jumped up from their seats before the plane came to a stop at the gate.

Teen #1: “Let’s get out of here!”

There was no way in h*** I was going to let them rush to the front of the plane, so I stepped out into the aisle to block them.

Teen #2: “We’re late for our connecting flight!”

Me: “No, you’re not. The plane landed fifteen minutes early.”

Teen #3: *Shouting* “We’re diplomats!”

Me: “All three of you?”

Teens: “Yes, we’re diplomats!”

Me: “You mean you have a parent who is a diplomat?”

Teens: “No, we’re diplomats! We need to get to our connecting flight!”

Me: “You need to wait your turn like everyone else.”

Teen #3: *Shouting* “You’re being racist because we have brown skin!”

Me: “No, you’re in the back of the plane and need to wait like the rest of us.”


The teens then started crawling over the tops of all the seats, over people’s heads, toward the front of the plane. At some point, I lost track of them because my son and I had to gather our belongings. When we finally made it into the terminal, several airport staff, including security, had detained the teens and were explaining to them that they could not possibly be late for their connecting flight because we arrived early. One of the teens spotted me and started pointing vigorously at me.

Teen #3: “There she is! She wouldn’t let us pass! She’s being racist because we have brown skin! WE’RE DIPLOMATS!”

I explained the whole situation to security. They asked me if I wanted to press charges. Since none of the teens had actually touched me, I declined and went on my way.

A few minutes later, my son and I were sitting near our connecting gate, and guess who came laughing, scampering, and skipping through the terminal without a care in the world? The teens saw me and one took out a camera phone and started filming me. I just sat there, bemused. 

Teen #3: “Ooo, you’re in trouble now!”

I checked social media for a few days after that and never saw a viral story about some old white lady being racist. Go figure.

Come Fly With Me

, , , , | Right | December 1, 2021

I take a call from a client who works in an airport. She has a paper jam in the office printer and straight away demands an engineer onsite yesterday! I get her to describe the problem and know straight away that if she follows my instructions I can have it back working normally in less than five minutes. She refuses to try anything and when I try explaining that I can have the printer working much quicker than an engineer can arrive if she works with me, she screams at the top of her voice and slams down the phone.

The scariest part of the whole thing to me was that she worked as an air traffic controller and got that freaked out by a simple paper jam!

Not Even In Line And Out Of Line, Part 4

, , , | Right | November 17, 2021

I am preparing to return a rental car at the airport. It’s the type that you have to queue to check in and there’s no dropoff. I’ve been standing in the exact same spot for about half an hour. A lady comes in and says out loud:

Customer: “I’m not standing in line.”

She then sits on a couch off to the side. Fine.

My turn is up next, and the lady says:

Customer: “Excuse me, I was ahead of you. I came in first.”

Me: “You didn’t. I’ve literally been standing in the same spot for forty-five minutes.”

I suspect that because I’m sort of brown (half-Filipino) she thought my English would be subpar, because she seemed surprised when I started speaking in my fluent American English.

Customer: “You weren’t there when I came in.”

I turn to the people in front of me with whom I made polite conversation when I first arrived.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’ve got a funny question: I was here right after you, wasn’t I?”

They confirm it. She sits down with a harumph, saying:

Customer: “I don’t think that’s very funny.”

Then, she got up five minutes later and literally tried to skip over the entire line to get her car, but the man at the desk wasn’t having it, saying, “Let me help this gentleman first,” while pointing at me.

Not Even In Line And Out Of Line, Part 3
Not Even In Line And Out Of Line, Part 2
Not Even In Line And Out Of Line

They’re Wailing And Whale-ing 

, , , , | Right | November 8, 2021

A flight has just arrived from Lisbon, and I’m helping at the lost-and-found counter, when a passenger walks up.

Passenger: “Hello. At what hours do the whales swim into the bay at [Nearby City]?”

As soon as he says that, my coworker and the gentleman she’s helping stop what they’re doing and start staring at him. I pause.

Me: “Sir, those are wild animals. They rarely swim into the bay and they don’t have schedules.”

Passenger: *Angry and yelling* “What the h***?! I was promised whales! I demand you tell me where they are right now!”

I try explaining it to him and even offer him a whale tour brochure, which is thrown on the floor.

Passenger: “I want to know where the f****** whales are! I’m going to sue you if I don’t see any whales!”

A week later, we were called to hear about a crazy complaint headquarters received about whales, and the copy of it was posted on the workroom’s board.