I have been traveling a lot lately, and this is what greeted me at the TSA checkpoint yesterday. These are the bottles of liquids that were confiscated by airport security in one hour. A TSA agent told me they leave them on that table so travelers know they are serious about the liquid restriction. And yet people still leave bottles full of liquid in bags that pass through the X-ray system. One woman did it right in front of me, it wasn’t pretty. 

I stand in awe of the basic lack of thinking on this one. If you see this table covered with bottles, and see the signs that say you cannot take liquids over three ounces past this point, how do the two not connect in your brain? How do you still expect to get your bottle of water through security? Do you have magic water? Is your water invisible to the human eye or an X-ray machine? As I saw the woman get caught with water, then act surprised, then get angry in being forced to give up the water she just bought…I just shook my head. This isn’t a new concept, it has been this way for over a decade. I walked through the scanner still shaking my head. 

That woman was on my flight. When we landed everyone stood up, faced forward to wait their turn to exit the aircraft. She got out of her seat and faced the back of the plane. She had a severe scowl on her face, as if she woke up and found herself in an unknown place. The Flight Attendant tried to help her to no avail. She just stood there without moving. Suddenly she asked the person in front of her if she could go ahead as she was late to her father’s funeral. 

That explained it all…the water, the scowl, facing backwards, the disorientation. It brought all the pieces together. What I thought was clear, was not clear at all. Now I knew the missing piece that made it all make sense. I had judged her without understanding. I had deciphered her behavior erroneously and never even considered what I didn’t know. Shame on me. And we all do this all the time. We judge things, people, situations by a tiny piece of the story, extrapolating the rest of the story…to our own demise. Better to give people the benefit of the doubt than judging out of our ignorance. 

What appears clear is not always clear…even her bottle of water at the TSA checkpoint did not tell the true story. I said a silent prayer for her and her family, and asked for forgiveness for my own attitude. I will think long and hard before I think this way again. 

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