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TSA declares mute woman can’t board flight unless she speaks

Heidi Wright
Heidi Wright
ABC7 screen grab

The Transportation Security Administration should really go into faith healing. Last year the agency ordered a Marine who had lost both legs in combat to stand up and walk. Earlier this week, they refused to allow passage to a woman unable to speak or write since she suffered a stroke a decade ago.

According to the New York Post, Heidi Wright, who is also wheelchair-bound, was stopped by a TSA agent Los Angeles International Airport because of an expired driver’s license she was using as identification. That’s reasonable.

What came next is not. When Sherry Wright attempted to explain her sister’s unique situation, the TSO said he wanted the explanation to come from the holder of the lapsed ID. Wright tried to reason with the man, emphasizing that her sister was mute, but to no avail.

Wright told reporters with Los Angeles station ABC7 (video here):

I showed her ID, her (Social Security card) and her DMV papers. He just wanted me to make my sister talk, and I couldn’t believe it.

I was just standing there, tears were coming out and I was like, ‘Are you serious? We can’t get her to talk.’

The women managed to get to Phoenix, their destination. But the trip, by bus, took them eight hours. Sherry Wright has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security.

Nico Melendez, a spokesperson for the TSA, told ABC7 that it regrets the incident:

I think it could have been handled differently by the TSA and it probably could have been handled differently by the family, and hopefully moving forward the family won’t have this problem again, because they know about the programs that we have in place.

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