VIDEO TSA apologizes for traumatizing disabled 3-year-old


TSA airport screeners are notorious for getting a bad rap, and the following story that led a 3-year-old wheelchair-bound toddler to scream out in tears, “I don’t wanna go to Disney World,” will certainly do nothing to improve their image.

On Feb 8, Annie Schulte and her daughter Lucy were at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport anticipating a vacation to Orlando. When they approached the screening area the TSA agents on hand requested a pat down of little Lucy and a screening of her wheelchair. Annie was taken aback by the idea and requested that she be able to record the interactions on video via her cellphone. The TSA agent was having none of it and the protective mother replied, “The problem is I don’t allow anyone to touch my little daughter without being able to record it.”

Annie Schulte posted the following clip of what she recorded:

The final straw, and what motivated Annie to post her footage online, was when the agents refused to immediately return Lucy’s little stuffed doll “Lamby” even though it had already been scanned.

In the wake of all the backlash caused by the video, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration issued an apology.

“TSA regrets inaccurate guidance was provided to this family during screening and offers its apology. We are committed to maintaining the security of the traveling public and strive to treat all passengers with dignity and respect. While no pat-down was performed, we will address specific concerns with our workforce.”

The family accepted the apology but feel like additional training is necessary to prevent this type of incident from happening again. I can report a happy ending to all of this as Lucy did make it down to Disney and even scored a photo-op with Mickey Mouse!


A few things… That’s a sorry excuse for an apology. I am always amazed at a mom’s ability to focus and maintain clarity when they feel their children are being threatened. Lastly, “Lamby” looked a lot like my favorite animated nurse Lambie from Doc McStuffins to me so here’s a little TSA-PSA poster just for Lucy.

  • Wtf

    Is this a freaking joke? They wanted to pat down the wheel chair to make sure no weapons were hidden and the mom freaks out. It’s their job they have to check because psychos will hide a weapon in anything. Of course her refusal to let people do their job made them suspicious. And traumatized? The girl stopped crying immediately when she got the iPad. The little girl didnt give a crap only her psycho mother did. People will complain over anything

    • Duh

      They told the mother they were going to pat down the little girl not the chair.

      • LaDy

        I could understand wanting to check out the chair, I guess, but needing to pat down a disabled 3 year old seems excessive, if not cruel. As if the mother and children don’t have enough to deal with already.

        • Sweet Venom

          True on some level. But imagine what everyone else would have to deal with if those two actually did have a bomb. They were just doing their job, people can’t take that personal.

    • Sweet Venom

      I could not agree more. A child cries for squat and the whole world has to blame someone. People need to grow up. Traumatized child gets to go to Disney World. Lol yeah she’s traumatized alright.

      And to Starcasam, your article only helps to further this BS. Seriously, a big crying photo of the girl? Pft.


  • When in doubt give the kid an IPAD! Freaking parents today, how about you hold her and comfort her instead of giving her an electronic device to appease her?

  • Truthfully i don’t see the issue with this. i have had my kids scanned at the airport. its their jobs. just because she is in a wheelchair doesn’t give the right to get all grouchy . people smuggle things with there kids. its not uncommon. so just let them do their check, record it if you want but dont freak out. and what i see in the video when she asked if her daughter could have her animal back the lady nicely said “sure go ahead” so what was the issue with that part? you have to let them do their jobs. it a little uncomfortable but its ultimately for our safety. the problem is that our world is getting to sensitive to stuff. people are to quick to pull out the “its not fair” card or “i have rights”. if you wanna get mad then get mad at the people who are braking laws. they are ruining it for the rest of us.

  • jean

    If the mother had just let the officer do their job her daughter would not have been “traumatized”. The daughter was upset because the mother became upset.

  • Jed

    I was gonna comment about how dumb this is but I didn’t want any back lash. Then I saw everyone else agrees! Sure, it’s unlikely that there’s a bomb hidden in a 3 year old disabled girl but guess what? It’s possible. What’s the world gonna think when TSA lets them go without being screened and another plane goes down? People just think they are entitled and they HATE TSA. Just let them do their jobs and it’s fine. Easy even.

  • The only sorry excuse here is the parent. These people are simply doing their job, which is to keep everyone SAFE! Omfg. The fact that someone (90% of the time its an entitled parent) is always in the news for carrying on and making a scene while in the security line is just absurd. Don’t like the rules? DON’T FREAKIN’ FLY! A 3 year old sitting around bored (since apparently she can’t go a minute without some sort of device entertaining her….another example of excellent parenting) is going to throw a tantrum no matter what! She’s 3! Instead of moving things along and cooperating, the mother chose to drag this process out, not the TSA agent. To say she was traumatized is shameful. Darren O, get a clue.

  • siren2c

    Some of the people commenting are not paying attention to the point, the mother asked to record the pat down. Given the TSA’s HORRIFIC record with seniors and kids I’d want to record too. Mom never said DON’T DO IT… she just said she’d be recording and if the TSA can’t stand in the truth then I would call into question what they are doing.

    • ……….which is illegal for security reasons. You don’t get a special pass for having a child. Why are airport security procedures all of a sudden a difficult concept for people to understand?

      • Kim

        Its not mandatory for them to pat down a child. They could have had her go thru screening scan like everyone else does. The mothers issue was the pat down, she wasnt asking them to not screen her daughter.

  • Does this make anybody feel safe? Attempting to pat down a damn 3 year old? Americans we should be collectively pissed off about this….black, white, latino, whatever…we should ALL be mad.

  • Sweet Venom

    Everyone should be searched. I’m sure everyone agrees that a three year old probably does not even know what cocaine or anything of the sort is, but I can guarantee that their parents do. You can’t assume that just because someone has a child that they wouldn’t try to smuggle something in. A child is the perfect decoy to be honest because no one would suspect them.

  • Kim

    Come on people we are talking about a little, disabled girl whose mother offered to hold her and take her thru the scan versus being patted down which would be terrifying for any young child.

    Yes the chair and the girl should be screened as all passengers should be BUT they didnt have to pat her down. The issue was the pat down. The mother wasnt saying to not screen her daughter at all, she just had issue with the pat down.

    The first TSA agent was argumentative & did say on camera “I have to pat her down” then later she lies and says she never said that. The second agent was much better suited to deal with the situation and led them to a private line etc. This was a case of 1 unintelligent TSA agent on a power trip who should lose her job. The second TSA agent (probably a supervisor) should be comended for diffusing & handling the situation appropriately.

  • Burkey

    I understand both sides of the argument here. It is TSA’s job, but from personal experience and stories like this I think there are a great deal of TSA agents that could do their jobs better and handle certain situations more appropriately. Also, if it were your child in the situation you may feel differently than you do now. I also think people should take into account that the mother still remained pretty calm throughout the ordeal, wasn’t yelling or cursing or acting like a lunatic or anything like that and ultimately it’s not like the family is trying to sue TSA or anything along those lines so I don’t see why people are SO upset at the parents over this.

  • Jen

    As a parent, if you are traveling with your child, you sit them down and explain what airport security is, what’s going to happen and how to behave. The child knows what to expect, how to react and doesn’t start freaking out. It’s called parenting. This mom should try it sometime. Also, I live in St. Louis. The TSA reps in Lambert Airport have been nothing but professional and polite. Every single time I’ve flown.

  • Yep

    What exactly did TSA do wrong? This kid is a whiney brat, enabled by her parents. Everyone goes through security before getting on an airplane. Don’t like it? Drive to your destination then!

  • Tamzen

    I kind of get where she’s coming from but “why do we allow them to do this to us just to get on a plane?”… would you not be upset if they didn’t do it, and a potential hijacker boarded a plane with you and your kid/s? “But what harm is a kid in a wheelchair”. What does a criminal look like?

  • a momma

    Do you have a disabled child? By your response here i already know the answer. I have a disable child and from experience I can tell you that the smallest things can tramatize our children. That little girl could’ve had sensory issues causing her to be tramatized by this. Some of the babies have muscle issues (tight muscle tone). If someone goes to moving their arms and legs not knowing what they are doing can break there bones. I for one would not let ANYONE touch my child or anywhere near her. My child does not have vision in one eye and low vision in the other. If someone comes up to my child fast or that she does not know it will send her into uncontrollable fits. My child has a life expectancy of 5 yrs old. It would be over my dead body that I would have even allowed this to happen to her. These babies go through enough on a daily basis and for them to do this to her on her special day is disgraceful

  • eh

    this mom is stupid. tsa didn’t do anything wrong here. i don’t get why she wanted to record her daughter getting a pat down. it’d be a different story if tsa wanted to pat her down without her mother present, but that wasn’t the case. this mom needs to get over herself.