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A foreign man who was writing strange things in a notebook was pulled off a plane on Thursday as a security precaution.
The man was seated next to a woman on a short flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse when she became suspicious of his scribblings.
She promptly alerted a flight attendant of her suspicions about the olive-skinned man with the foreign accent, the Washington Post reported.
The American Airlines flight sat on the tarmac for an extended time and ultimately returned to the gate where the woman, and eventually the man, were removed.
He told the Post he was interviewed by officials and laughed when he found out he was suspected of being a security risk.
The problem is, as it was later learned, the man wasn’t a terrorist threat at all.
Instead he was an Italian born Ivy League economist Guido Menzio who was on his way to Ontario to give a talk about a working paper he co-authored.
And his scribblings were equations he was working on, which he showed the authorities, the Post reported.
Menzio for his part says he was “treated respectfully throughout,” though he remains baffled and frustrated by a “broken system that does not collect information efficiently.” He is troubled by the ignorance of his fellow passenger, as well as “A security protocol that is too rigid–in the sense that once the whistle is blown everything stops without checks–and relies on the input of people who may be completely clueless. ”
Menzio said he believes the rise of Donald Trump might make things worse for foreigners.
“What might prevent an epidemic of paranoia? It is hard not to recognize in this incident, the ethos of Trump’s voting base,” he told the Post.
While Menzio reboarded the plane and went on about his journey, the woman never did return.
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