An Indiana man is demanding an apology from the TSA after one of their incompetent agents dropped a jar containing the cremated remains of his grandfather on the floor, and then laughed about it.
John Gross, 30, says he was on his way home from Florida on June 19th with his 91-year-old grandfather’s cremated remains when a TSA agent at the Orlando airport searching his carry-on luggage came across the jar clearly labeled “Human Remains.”
Gross says he explained to the agent what it was, but she insisted on opening the jar anyway, and “used her finger” to sift through the container before accidentally dropping at least a third of its contents all over the floor. (Editor’s note: What the hell was she looking for in a jar labeled “Human Remains?”)
“They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,'” he said. “She picked up the jar. She opened it up. She used her finger and was sifting through it. And then she accidentally spilled it.”
Gross said the agent offered no apology, and even laughed as he scrambled to pick up bone fragments off the floor, with a line of passengers waiting behind him.
“She thought it was funny … I wanted to smack her,” he told CNN. “I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments.”
Gross said he tried to recover as much as he could. “I couldn’t get a broom and dust pan, but I picked up the bigger pieces on the ground and I put them in the jar,” he said. “But not everything. I tried getting what I could but there was a long line behind me.”
“I didn’t want to cause a scene because I didn’t want them to throw me off my flight or put me on the no-fly list,” he added. “It didn’t really hit me until I got on the plane.”
After a little research, Gross later found out that the TSA rules state that under NO circumstance should staff tamper with human remains containers. Instead, they are supposed to put them through an X-ray machine.
On the TSA website it clearly states: “Passengers are allowed to carry a crematory container as part of their carry-on luggage, but the container must pass through the X-ray machine. Out of respect to the deceased and their family and friends, under no circumstances will an officer open the container even if the passenger requests this be done.”
Gross said he received what he considered a “sincere” and “heartfelt” apology from a TSA administrator on Wednesday (Jun 27), but he says he still wants an “apology from the person who did it.”