[Hpr] True Life Travel Stories

James Toebes james at toebesacademy.com
Wed Mar 25 05:30:40 PDT 2015

Worse I had was a trip within the US.     Traveling from Florida to 
North Carolina.

I had spent a week at the mouses' house.  I was flying with my entire 
family.  Going through the check point,  I went to grab my carry on 
bag.  The TSA agent stopped me and said the bag needed to go through 
again.   So I waited,  it went through.  I was told it needed to be 
manually searched.   I have nothing to hide in the bag so think nothing 
of it.

My family had already made it through and were waiting for me.  The 
search is taking a few minutes and I am feeling nervous.  Did someone 
put something in my bag?  Stupid me thinks that making jokes at this 
time is a good way to alleviate the nervousness.   DO NOT JOKE WITH 
TSA.  Someone had told me that one time but I forgot....

He pulled my Bible in it's zipper cover out of the bag.   I said be 
careful with that.  He stopped,  looked at me and deadpanned why? I 
replied, 'It makes you think'.     Then, just as stoically,  he said (a 
little loud),  I am looking for a bomb in here.   I FROZE. All the 
agents (and most in line) turned to look at me.  I was intensely aware 
of the number of staff.   My wife decided she needed to move her and the 
kids a little further away.

He pulled everything out of the bag,  could not find anything. Finally 
satisfied that I had no threat, He indicated I could continue.  I 
repacked the bag in complete silence.  I found my wife who did not want 
to talk to me for a bit.   The rest of the trip was uneventful.

When I got home I wanted to figure out what they may have seen.   I 
emptied the bag completely.   Found a bunch of cables, chargers, 
cameras, and phones in the bag (for the whole family).  But nothing that 
seemed out of ordinary.   I felt the bag then found it had a secret 
internal pocket I did not know.  My heart stopped.   Some weird 
cylindrical container in it.  I slowly found the opening and pulled it out.

Did I mention I was traveling with kids?  Little ones at that. Kids like 
toys.   My littlest apparently places two small travel size play-do 
containers in my bag.   She was so happy that I found them.   So play-do 
and electronics make traveling interesting.

I am pretty sure I am now on a list some place.

BTW,  If the family gets the nerve to brave TSA again,  I would not mind 
visiting New Zealand.   Never been south of the Equator.

On 03/24/2015 12:14 PM, Klaatu wrote:
> Hey all. I just made the 37 hour trek to the states from NZ for a visit,
> and on the way an interesting thing happened (twice) at airport
> security. My girlfriend's computer got pulled aside to get the swabbing
> inspection (I am not sure if they are looking for drugs exclusively or
> also traces of explosives or biohazards). This happened not once but
> twice. It's a System76 Laptop with a Tux sticker on it. It runs Linux Mint.
> We played dumb (didn't have to do much acting; we sincerely could not
> understanding why) and eventually got one of the agents to tell us what
> was going on.
> I will not reveal the answer (or at least what they claimed was their
> reason for pulling it aside) here, as an incentive for this:
> I want to compile an HPR episode of interesting stories about travelling
> with computers. Preferably focusing on TSA interaction, in an attempt to
> better understand what these fine defenders of the American way of life
> are looking for when they inspect computers.
> I do not require you to record your story; just respond to this thread
> with your tale.
> I am seeking first-hand experiences. In other words, you should have
> witnessed the event in person, preferably with something to lose if it
> had all gone wrong.
> Cheers.
> -klaatu
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