|Lena Reppert and her daughter Jean Weber|
Lena Reppert, 95, was to say her final goodbyes to her daughter before she made what would most likely be her last flight to her native Michigan. After eight years of battling leukemia, doctors say she doesn’t have much time to live.
“She said she wanted to be closer to her grave,” Jean Weber, her daughter said. “I knew it would probably be the last time I ever see her.”
The TSA asked Mrs. Reppert, who was in a wheelchair, to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search. “It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil,” Weber said Friday. “Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this.”
|The TSA thoroughly inspects everyone but Moslems|
Wheelchairs trigger certain protocols, including pat-downs and possible swabbing for explosives.
She said her mother was first pulled aside into a glass-partitioned area and patted down.
Then she was taken to another room for a more extensive and invasive search. Weber said she sat outside the room while the TSA was thoroughly inspecting her mother.
She said security personnel then came out and told her they would need for her mother to remove her Depends diaper because it was soiled and was impeding their search. Weber wheeled her mother into a bathroom, removed her diaper and returned. Her mother did not have another clean diaper with her, Weber said.
Reppert eventually made her flight with just two minutes to spare, her daughter said, but the departure was bitter sweet. “It was tough to say goodbye after all of that,” Weber said. “But she’s at peace, and she’s a good Christian woman. They’ll be waiting for her up there in Heaven.”
|"I can't make exceptions. Rules are rules"|
“I don’t understand why they have to put them through that kind of procedure,” she said. The TSA says that the procedures are the same for everyone to ensure national security.
“TSA cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability,” she said.
Weber filed a complaint through Northwest Florida Regional’s website and she said she plans to file additional complaints next week.
“I’m not one to make waves, but dadgummit, this is wrong. People need to know. Next time it could be you.”