TSA Training Need in Newark: More Patience and Understanding For Our Foreign Friends


I was behind a non-English speaking Asian lady at the TSA checkpoint this morning who had a plastic grocery bag full of snacks and a half-empty liter of water in preparation for a long day of travel.

The TSA agent hurriedly informed her that she would need to either step aside to finish her bottle of water or throw it away, per the normal protocol. Understandably, she didn’t comprehend that so he pantomimed along as he repeated the instructions. This time, the lady seemed to understand, as evidenced by her issuance of an “ah-ha”-type noise, a head nod, a smile and that internationally recognized look on her face that says, “great idea!” She took the bottle of water out of her grocery sack, unscrewed the cap and at this point, I thought I was going to witness her chug 12 ounces of water so that she wasn’t wasteful. Instead, she took a sip, screwed the cap back on, put it back in her sack and looked at him approvingly as if to say, “you were right! I WAS thirsty. Probably a good idea to wet my whistle before proceeding further.”

I thought the whole scene was kind of sweet and funny. The TSA agent did not. He waved me on through and then looked at her with no sympathy or understanding but more like he wondered how such a person can figure out how to put pants on every morning.

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