A woman trying to fly from Los Angeles International Airport to Phoenix says Transportation Security Administration agents refused passage to her disabled sister because she couldn’t properly pronounce her own name.
Sherry Wright said her sister Heidi had a stroke a decade ago that left her confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, CNN reported. The pair was stopped for scrutiny by TSA officials at the security line because Heidi presented an expired driver’s license for identification, the New York Post said.
“I showed her ID, her [Social Security card] and her DMV papers,” Ms. Wright said, adding that the TSA agent was rude and insisted that Heidi speak for herself. “He just wanted me to make my sister talk, and I couldn’t believe it. I was standing there, tears coming out, and I was like, ‘Are you serious? We can’t get her to talk.’ “
In the end, Ms. Wright said Heidi was forced to take an eight-hour bus trip to Phoenix.
TSA, for its part, said the agency is sorry — but also faults the family.
“I think it could have been handled differently by the TSA, and it probably could have been handled differently by the family,” TSA spokesman Nico Melendez told the local ABC7 station. “Hopefully, moving forward, the family won’t have this problem again because they know about the programs that we have in place.”
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Ms. Wright said she’s filed a complaint with Homeland Security, the New York Post said.