We may have finally found the one thing that can get a TSA agent fired. Previous experience has taught us that roughing up cancer patients or scolding little girls is not grounds for dismissal for a TSA agents or guards. However, middle school-level taunts are apparently a bridge too far.
According to Newsweek, a TSA contractor working as a security guard at an airport in upstate New York has been fired for passing a note to a passenger reading, “You ugly!”
In late July, Neal Strassner says he was going through security before his flight when a woman guard handed him a folded up piece of cardboard. He walked away and says the guard yelled “You going to open the note?” after him. That’s when he found the message and heard the guard laughing.
Strassner was so confused at being handed a juvenile insult by an authority figure tasked with checking his person for weapons, a job that usually does not require written communication, that he filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the security footage. Footage shows the security worker writing and handing off the note, laughing too hard and a joke that was not very good, then writing a second note. After the guard was fired, Strassner wrote in an email that he thought the TSA handled the situation properly but was curious about what the second note said.
First of all, the other note obviously read “You ain’t got no alibi.” Second, the TSA is right to fire employees (or, in this case, contractors), who treat passengers like shit. But after a long history of not caring whether or not their workers are abusive dickbags, this seems like a weird line in the sand.