A nine-year-old boy with hopes of becoming a pilot was traumatized by TSA agents at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport when he was told that, because of his pacemaker for his heart condition, he was ineligible for screening.
Chille Bergstrom had been screened countless times before. His mother, Ali Bergstrom, told Anti-Media they have flown millions of miles without incident and often go to the airport early so Chille can watch the planes take off and land.
But on Saturday morning, he was told by TSA agent and manager, Agent Potts-O’brien, that Chille would require a special exemption to make it through security. Normally, he is able to have his hands swiped with the TSA’s swab kits. But this time, his mother was told she would have to have all of her bags individually checked if she wanted her son to make it through security.
Bergstrom says Potts-O’Brien told her all of the other screenings Chille had endured without issue were performed incorrectly by all other TSA agents.
Baffled by the change in policy, Bergstrom says she asked Potts-O’Brien to check with a supervisor, whom she assumed would clear up the situation. After waiting about fifteen minutes for Mr. Maynard Williams, a security manager, to arrive in the terminal, Bergstrom and her son were told, once again, that TSA policy did not allow Chille to receive a hand swipe security check.
According to the TSA, however, individuals with pacemakers, who cannot pass through metal detectors for risk of malfunction, are eligible for alternative screenings. One of those is a traditional pat down — the alternative some people choose to body scanners — which Bergstrom says she requested for her son. The agents refused, and they also denied him the option of passing through a body scanner.
Bergstrom said in a Facebook post that, as they waited, “Strangers were literally crying along with Chille, giving me their names and numbers as witnesses ‘to this horrific situation!’”