A Fun TSA Agent Makes an Airport Security Line Memorable
Last week, I was going through Miami on my way from Punta Cana to Cancun. Going through America meant picking up my suitcase, rechecking it, and regoing through security. Tom and I had been up since 4am and there were many things we’d prefer to be doing than standing in the slow moving security line and going through the scrutiny of yet another TSA agent.
Then, as we got closer to the front of the line, it started to become fun.
I know what you’re thinking. What? A FUN security line at the airport?
Yet it was. And it was all thanks to a TSA agent who was actually enjoying his job, or at least seemed to be. Now, I don’t want to say all TSA agents are stick in the muds who look crabby and about ready to arrest you the instant you forget to put all your liquids into a ziplock bag or take your laptop out of your carryone, but unfortunately, that seems to be the case more often than not. And most of the time I don’t blame them, someone has to do their job and it looks pretty thankless. Which results in crabby workers and crabby passengers.
Not on that day in the Miami security checkpoint though.
The TSA agent whose role it is to yell at everyone in line what they need to make sure they do before getting to the front of the line to go through the X-Rays was NOT acting like a normal agent. He was yelling, yes, but not in an angry way. More in a “let’s get this party started!” manner.
I first noticed him when I heard him walking and singing in a loud off-tune voice to take liquids and laptops out of carryons. “Who’s going to be the one to mess it up? Who’s going to be the one to me-ess i-it u-up?” he continued singing. I giggled and glanced at Tom to see if he heard. He had and was also smiling.
I watched as the TSA agent went over to one of the ID checkpoint stands where a girl was not ready and was fumbling to get out her ID and ticket. He went up and held out his hands at her with a grin and started humming the jeopardy song loudly. To her credit, she laughed. And I made sure to make sure I had my proper documentation ready when I got to the front.
He continued jumping from one side of security to the other singing interacting with people in line and singing about what they needed to do before getting to the front. I noticed that this security line was moving much faster than most even though they only had a couple x-ray machines open.
Then someone going through security forgot to take their laptop out. Normally this would mean a loud, exasperated speech from said TSA agent to everyone in line that “your laptop MUST be taken out”. Resulting in a lot of eyerolls from people in line and mutters of “yeah yeah, we know” or “idiot” for the poor culprit who did it wrong.
The agent jogged over to the line I was standing in. “Folks!” He called. “You need to take your laptop out of your bag! Now, who doesn’t have a laptop?” Roughly half of the people in line raised their hand. I wondered what on earth he was going to tell them. Do they get to go to a special line now or something? Or maybe the TSA will find it so weird someone doesn’t travel with a laptop they’ll take it as a signal to search them? Who knows.
As people’s hands waved in the air, the agent jokingly waved his arms back at us. “No laptop? Head to Best Buy, they have great deals right now!” Then he huffawed and went back to monitor people putting their things into bins. Every person he came in contact with was smiling afterward and people in line were still laughing about the Best Buy joke. It was an almost surreal atmosphere for a security line. People were enjoying themselves.
It made me realize that if he’s able to take that job and turn it into something fun that enhances people’s day, then shouldn’t we all be able to do that? On the days I get annoyed with my team or am frustrated to be at work when I’d rather be traveling, I should remind myself that it is possible to make the day still fun even if I’m not doing what I want to be doing.
And that TSA agent guy should definitely get a raise.