Here’s the thing about Tourette Syndrome — from physical to verbal tics, it’s involuntary. That’s why one man with Tourette’s says he alerted the Transportation Security Administration as well as JetBlue of his condition, because he knew he could say something he shouldn’t. Despite that, the man says he was kicked off a flight last week for saying the word “bomb.”
The man spoked to MyFoxDC about his plans to fly with a friend to San Juan, Puerto Rico last week to take part in a Revolutionary War reenactment. He planned ahead and told the TSA and JetBlue about his frequent ticking, as it’s known in the Tourette’s community, because he knew it was likely that he’d say something he shouldn’t.
“With all the stuff in the news about the Boston bombings and stuff… I started ticking ‘bomb.’ Because that when I get nervous and anything on my mind will come out. And things you’re not supposed to say,” he explained.
But because he’d told the TSA that he had Tourette’s, he says he flew through security screening with no problem, despite uttering “bomb” the “whole time.”
A few minutes before he was supposed to get on the flight, however, he says the pilot decided he couldn’t fly.
“I mean they stood me up in front of everyone and told me like I’m in kindergarten that I’m not allowed to go on the plane,” he claims.
JetBlue said in a statement that the man “was deemed a safety concern by the pilot in command after using the word ‘bomb.’ After further investigation, the situation was deemed innocuous.”
He says the airline offered him a free roundtrip flight to smooth things over, but that won’t replace the trip he and his buddy missed out on. And JetBlue didn’t make any guarantees that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen again.
“It doesn’t make up for the embarrassment or the fact that we missed something that we’d been planning for two years,” he says.