The Random Passenger

4 mins read

By Lee Scott

It seems like every time I go to the airport to get on an airplane, I am the random passenger who must be searched. Whether it is my high forehead, my big feet, or maybe my age, suddenly I will hear “Ma’am, can you step over to the side please?” 


It has gotten a bit ridiculous lately. I have stopped wearing jewelry and make sure I have no zippers or metal buttons. I keep glasses in my purse, which goes through the scanner.  I have no artificial titanium hips or hardware in my body that might trigger an alarm. Yet there I am with the “latex lady,” as I call her.

When it happened two weeks ago, I asked the TSA staff member if there was a reason I am always getting pulled over.

“No, ma’am, this is totally random,” she said.

“How could it be when I have been pulled over three times in the past six months?,” I asked.

Maybe I should be playing the lottery since my odds of getting chosen are so great.

When my husband called me to ask how the flight was, I informed him that I was no longer going to fly. I am tired of being “randomly” chosen. 

“Maybe it is your driver’s license that is the problem,” he suggested. 

“What does my driver’s license have to do with me getting pulled out of line?,” I asked.

“South Carolina now has the new Real ID driver’s licenses available and you have the old one.”

Good point, I had totally forgotten about this issue. South Carolina along with other states fought with the federal government requiring these new licenses. Ultimately, our governor signed a bill into law requiring the new Real ID. We can still use the old licenses for a little bit longer when we fly, but not for long.  

So, this morning, I got in the car and drove over to the Beaufort County Department of Motor Vehicles. I did check to see what I needed to bring before I went. When we moved here in 2014, we had to provide several forms of ID to get our South Carolina license. Fortunately, the DMV had scanned them into the system and I did not have to bring them again. Ultimately, it cost me $25, but I did get the REAL ID, with a new picture, a 2026 expiration date and a big gold star. 

Could my “random passenger” status have been the TSA’s way to urge me to get the Real ID. It will not be difficult to determine. I am flying again in a few weeks, and hopefully I will not have to hear those familiar words: 

“Ma’am, will you step over here please?”

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