Albert is a co-host of the SiriusXM radio show “The Moms,” and she didn’t hold back on her Facebook post informing her fans what transpired.
As a woman fighting breast cancer, the mother of two had recently undergone surgery for a lumpectomy, and was flying with a metal port in her chest as well as carrying some prescribed medical cream.
She readily took the cream out of her bag and informed TSA agents that she was traveling with it.
But according to Albert, the agents responded with aggression. She wrote:
“I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life. I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don’t know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public.”
When TSA started to frisk her, they aggressively targeted her medical port.
Albert stopped the female agent from touching her breasts and the port in her chest by exclaiming multiple times “you can’t touch me there.”
A second male agent responded:
“All right, so, that is part of the procedure. We have to clear everything. So, like she was explaining, she’s going to use the back of her hand. She’s going to use as much pressure as she needs to to clear the area.”
Additionally, Albert was unable to move or seek help during all of this…
The agents had asked her to remove her shoes—which is not normally required of a passenger with “TSA PreCheck” like Albert.
But because her cancer treatment causes open sores and rashes, she informed the agents she would be unable to stand on the ground barefoot due to the risk of infecting one of the sores on her feet:
“I would have to sit down because I would not put my bare feet on the floor. They allowed that.”
So, they placed her on a bench right in front of the security line, barefoot, and with no way to stand up or move.
But still, they continued to violate her; only this time they targeted her wig.
Albert said she has posted two photos without her wig on social media because she feels “it empowers others,” but she expressly states that she’s not comfortable in public without it.
Because TSA agents needed to “clear that area,” she was afraid they would ruin it. So, Albert removed it herself.
She remained sitting next to the security checkpoint in front of everyone, hairless, shoeless, and mortified.
But the scene was far from over.
Aside from her feet being freezing cold out in the open, which is another side effect from chemotherapy, Albert—unable to move—was violated again:
“The woman reached behind me and forceable and aggressively put her hands down my jeans in the back… On the video you see the woman shove her hand up my crotch and then try to go down my shirt.”
Albert said at some point they offered her a private screening room, but wouldn’t give her shoes back for the walk over…so Albert continued to be groped and patted down publicly.
And possibly the most angering detail is that when Albert asked the agents why they were doing this, remembering that nothing went off when she walked through the security checkpoint. They said it was because she was bringing medical cream.
So, not because something went off in the screening or detector, but because she needed to bring cream with her.
And at her breaking point, rather than have the agents touch her port, which she repeatedly told them they didn’t have permission to do so, Albert finally lifted up her shirt in front of everyone so that the agents would leave her chest alone.
As a woman who was mortified taking off her wig, one can imagine how far she was pushed to expose her recently-operated chest and metal port.
That’s when TSA agents threatened to call the authorities, to which Albert responded by asking them to do so, and a supervisor came to her rescue.
He brought Albert her shoes, took her to a private room, and softly patted her down.
However, the torment still wasn’t over.
The two agents responsible for her humiliation then took apart all of her belongings:
“Even though all of my bags when [sic] through x-rays without incident as well, they opened my bags, removed everything and another TSA agent joked about all of the eyelashes I had.
I told her, it’s because I don’t have real ones from my cancer treatment.”
Thankfully, the response to her story has been huge.
She was featured in several local news stories as well as national news headlines, and TSA called Albert to officially apologize:
“The TSA just called. I’m very pleased with our conversation. They apologized for my experience and at this point there is an LAX investigation into what happened. They very aggressively train their agents on how to screen medical / disabilities. This was not at their expectations and a lot of disappointment they didn’t get it right. They are going to refresh training at LAX 3000 employees.”
TSA is launching an investigation into the matter, but Albert is hopeful her experience will never again happen to anyone—especially a breast cancer fighter.