Navigating the airport is a challenge for everyone, but none more so than TSA employees. Local TSA were especially confused when Abbas Shah rolled up to a security checkpoint. Confronted with the conundrum of a dark-bearded wheelchair user approaching, they were uncertain how to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We were initially confused about what to pat down first — whether the beard or the wheelchair was a greater security threat. Both can hide all sorts of danger!” said the local TSA security chief. “We always have to make sure nothing gets past us; we have a reputation to uphold.”
However, during the initial talkthrough, Shah pointed at their wheelchair. That’s when all hell broke loose. TSA scrambled into action and Shah was thrown down.
“We didn’t know what to do when we heard them say ‘incendiary device.’ We had no choice but to tackle them. We already treat wheelchairs like the enemy at the airport … we know what to do.”
But Shah had a different account of the events. “I was just telling TSA to be careful with my mobility device. It was so hard to tell where their focus was: on my accent or my glistening wheels.”
“In 2022, airlines mishandled 11,389 wheelchairs,” said Shah. “I just wanted to make sure I could still navigate my vacation destination in Lincoln, Nebraska, but I should have known better than to make the situation about me. I thought bringing my American passport would make a difference, but it’s not about that.”
“Listen, at the end of the day there’s one thing that matters here,” said the TSA security chief. “We really want people to be seen. You know, because we have to inspect everything.”