Everyone’s least favorite part of air travel is going through security at the airport. Not only do you have to wait in line and share your ID and boarding pass, but you also have to take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the dirty carpet. But now one TSA worker, who made it her mission to make passengers’ lives a bit more miserable than they were before getting into the security line, has lost her job after handing one traveler a note that said, “You ugly!!!”
When the TSA worker handed Neal Strassner the hand-written note, he was shocked. He did not expect an interaction with the TSA agents, let alone one of them handing him a note. However, when she handed the hateful note to him and laughed as she walked away, Strassner opened it to find that he was the butt of an ugly joke.
The incident of verbal abuse and bullying occurred at the Greater Rochester International Airport in Monroe Country, New York. The “You ugly!!!” note was handed from the TSA agent to the passenger back in June. Strassner has been dealing with the complex emotions from the moment of abuse since then.
Strassner reported the TSA agent to authorities after he left the security line. The security footage shows the moment unfolding. The TSA worker rushes up to Strassner and hands him the insulting note before walking away, laughing.
When Strassner looks at the note, the expression on his face is one of confusion. However, he had not yet opened the note. As he gathered up his belongings and headed toward the gate, the TSA worker shouted out across the airport at him. She said, “You going to open the note?” Another passenger happened to capture this follow up on video.
When Strassner opened the note, he was shocked. He reported the unprovoked incident to TSA authorities who ran a complete investigation into the worker and later fired her.
During an interview with WROC, Strassner admitted he had no idea why he was targeted.
“I got handed a note,” he said. “I didn’t really think too much of it. I just kept going. I had 10 minutes to get to my gate. That’s what I was focused on, and I kept going, the woman called back to me, ‘are you going to open that? Are you going to look?’ or something like that.”
When he obeyed her urging, he found that the note was an insult. It was a hateful cry for help.
Strassner said that he was so focused on getting to his gate, the note did not rip a hole in his heart. However, he said that other people who might not be so thick-skinned might have broken down being called ugly out of the blue.
“I’m assuming it was meant to be a joke. I didn’t think she was maliciously trying to insult people, but you really don’t know if somebody was in that mindset, and they received that piece of paper. It would throw them back to a dark mental space.”
The offender was not an official TSA or Rochester airport employee, but a contractor hired through Virginia-based VMD Corp, a security company.
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