Life can be stranger than fiction. How often have you said, “You can’t make this stuff up?” It’s what happen to Dr. Stephen Burnett when he went to the airport to board a plane for Boston.
Dr. Burnett preferred to be called Steve. He didn’t like to be called doctor. Steve is a professor at a prestigious Big Ten university. He is also a globally renowned expert in cyber technology. Steve was traveling to an international conference on global security to present his breakthrough research on protection of power grids. We pick up Steve’s story at the airport where he began his journey.
Steve walked into the airport pulling a suitcase; a backpack hung on his shoulders. Once inside the airport, he paused, checked his iPhone airlines app. The flight was on time. He boarded at Gate 6. Steve had 40 minutes before his plane boarded. He loaded his boarding pass on his smart phone and made his way to the TSA security line. He envied the passengers who were TSA approved, but the normal TSA security line was short, there were only five people in front of him.
Steve got in line, pulled out his driver’s license. Held his driver’s license in his left hand, and his iPhone with the boarding pass in his right hand. He waited his turn. Steve’s mind was more on his presentation than on getting through security. There was no need to worry, after all, he spent as much time in the air as he spent in the classroom.
“Next,” said the TSA agent.
Steven walked up to the TSA agent. He handed him his license and put his iPhone boarding pass under the digital reading laser light.
The TSA agent looked at the license, looked back at Steve. He looked at the license and then back at Steve. “Excuse me, do you have a secondary piece of proof of identity?”
“That’s me. It’s my driver’s license,” said Steve.
“Sir, I didn’t ask if it was you. I asked if you had a secondary form of identification. A passport will work,” said the TSA agent.
“I only going to Boston. I wasn’t planning to leave the country. I didn’t take my passport.”
“Does your credit card have a photo ID?” asked the TSA agent.
“Can you tell what this is all about, my plane boards in 30 minutes,” asked Steve nervously.
“Your driver’s license shows a person who is clean shaven. You sir, have a thick grunge,” said the TSA agent.
“It’s me. Honest. Here’s my credit card. Here’s my voter’s ID. Here’s my gym membership card. I really need to make this flight,” pleaded Steve.
The TSA agent gathered up the documents. “I’ll need to show them to my supervisor. I can’t make this call.” The agent took the documents and left his station. Another TSA agent replaced the departed TSA agent. He motioned Steve to the side.
Did Steve make his flight? Come by tomorrow to find out.