‘You ugly!!!’ TSA agent fired after passing mean note to traveler

Screen capture … Credit: ABC7NY

A New York TSA security officer was fired after handing an airport traveler a note that said “You ugly!!!”

After Neal Strassner passed through a Transportation Security Adminstration (TSA) screening area at Rochester International Airport, the agent – who has since been terminated – handed him a folded-up note.

He thought it was a piece of garbage. “I didn’t open it because I didn’t care about it,” he told The New York Post. “She turned around a few times asking, ‘Are you going to open that?’”

At that point he opened it, saw the message, and put it into his pocket, intent on making his flight.

Footage of the incident showed the guard laughing after he saw it, before she then tore off another piece of cardboard and began writing on it. The assumption is that she wrote notes to multiple travelers.

The unidentified agent, an employee of TSA contract security company VMD Corp., was fired after the incident was investigated.

“TSA holds contractors to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” a statement from the agency read, confirming the woman’s termination.

Video by ABC7NY

Strassner indicated he was not inclined to complain or take any action until he shared the story with friends and they commented that other people who got a similar insulting note might not take it as well, particularly if they were depressed or in an angry state of mind.

“If you were bullied, that could be a big deal to somebody,” he said. “A smile could bring someone up from the ground and that note could drag them back down.”

“I travel constantly and I’ve never had anything like this happen,” said Strassner. “I don’t like throwing negativity around. What about a note that says, ‘Hey, next time bring me tacos’?”

The Post reported that security supervisors didn’t believe him when he called them weeks later to report the incident. Then he provided them with the note and he obtained the security footage through a Freedom of Information request that confirmed his story.

After that, stunned supervisors took action.

“One of the guys from VMD Corp. called me and he started apologizing and said, ‘I have no words.’ Once he received the tapes, he couldn’t believe it either,” said the targeted traveler.

Strassner said he still doesn’t understand what the TSA agent was thinking. “I really have no idea what she was trying to do,” he said.

“You never really know where somebody is in their day or their head,” Strassner told ABC7. ” The more you think about it, the more you realize it’s easier to smile than to do this.”


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