The Myth of Training Purposes

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There’s been a recent news story about a breast cancer patient being harassed as she went through TSA. It ended with her having to take off her wig, have hand frisks over medical implants in her body and with her bag being searched and scrutinized because she was carrying a prescription cream. Of course, this was all caught on cell phone footage. First, I can’t imagine being female, much less being female battling cancer who had to deal with the ignorance and disregard of untrained security personnel. I simply cannot imagine the humiliation.

I’ve been humiliated by TSA on several occasions. I’ve also been humiliated by airline personell and other public transportation entities. Even one as recently as this month. Almost always, I write a letter explaining the situation. And almost always, I get some sort of half ass apology that ends with, “We will be using your experience and letter for training purposes.” The breast cancer patient also got this response. She said it pleased her because she doesn’t want anyone else to have to go through the humiliation she endured.

How I wish…oh, how I wish that her experience will, indeed, be used correctly. The thing is…I don’t think they will. These days, that little phrase is used to placate a complaintant. But…will they actually change their ways?

In a word, no. If it were, things would change. But, this breast cancer patient isn’t the first nor the last who will endure horrible experiences uninformed employees who do not follow protocol. I’m sure I’ll have some of my exact same problems in the future. If complaints are used for “training purposes”, then why do these types of situations keep happening?

Takeaway: when you take the time to file a written complaint, don’t trust that your complaint will be used for education. If you get the pat answer of “We will use this for training purposes…”, ask specifics. Ask for measureable and timely resolutions. Hold the organization accountable. The only way things will ever, EVER improve is if we, the public, the passengers, the consumers, the public…if we want things to improve, it has to first start with due diligence. That due diligence first need to be on the part of the passenger to know his/her rights and the protocol for their specific situation. Then, follow up…nothing gets better until we make it get better.

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