A man trying to bring his grandfather’s ashes home says a Transportation Security Administration agent not only opened the jar containing the remains, but then proceeded to root around in them and spill some on the floor. He was even more shocked when she laughed at him as he tried to scoop up what had spilled.
According to RTV6 News, the man was leaving Florida to head back to Indianapolis. He had a tightly sealed jar marked “Human Remains” and was going through security at the Orlando airport when an agent found the jar.
“They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,’” he told the station. “She picked up the jar. She opened it up. I was told later on that she had no right to even open it, that they could have used other devices, like an X-ray machine. So she opened it up. She used her finger and was sifting through it. And then she accidentally spilled it.”
TSA rules say human remains in crematory containers must pass through the X-ray machine at the security checkpoint, and “under no circumstances will an officer open the container even if the passenger requests this be done.”
He says about a quarter to a third of what was inside spilled on the floor, and he tried to gather up as much as he could with a long line of antsy passengers behind him. The agent, meanwhile, was less than helpful, he claims.
“She didn’t apologize. She started laughing. I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me.”
The man just wants the TSA to apologize now, especially the agent he had the encounter with.
“I want an apology,” he said. “I want an apology from TSA. I want an apology from the lady who opened the jar and laughed at me. I want them to help me understand where they get off treating people like this.”