Airports take security very seriously. They have to! It’s the vital job of TSA agents to ensure that the items people bring onto commercial airlines don’t pose any kind of threat. Sometimes, however, people are unfortunately forced to discard things that have sentimental value due to the safety constraints.
While Florida resident Ivelise Hernandez was waiting in line to board a flight, she saw a TSA agent and passenger arguing over an object the passenger wanted to bring on the plane. After the dispute, the passenger reluctantly got rid of his item, but Ivelise knew there was something important about it. So she formed a plan…
It was a sunny afternoon in Tampa, Florida when Ivelise Hernandez arrived at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport. She was catching a flight to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but little did she know, this particular airport experience would lead her on a wild goose chase around the country.
Ivelise’s boyfriend Rico Bankston drove her that afternoon, but instead of dropping her off and leaving, he accompanied her while she waited in the airport’s security line; he knew the lines could be painfully long and slow moving.
The airport was incredibly crowded, but soon enough, Ivelise found her gate. The security line was taking far longer than normal because one traveler was attempting to take something the TSA agents refused to allow.
The stranger was a few people ahead of Ivelise and Rico. TSA agents were rummaging through his stuff, and everything checked out except for a small white box. The man was nearly in tears, pleading with them to let him board with it, but the agents wouldn’t budge. Ivelise knew there was something meaningful inside.
Ivelise and Rico both felt terrible as they watched the stranger throw the box away in the garbage. So terrible, in fact, that Ivelise instructed Rico to rummage through the bin to see what the commotion was all about. She needed to know what was inside.
Throughout the entire journey to Pittsburgh, Ivelise couldn’t stop thinking about the scene she witnessed at the airport. The passenger’s teary eyes tugged at her heartstrings; she hoped Rico was able to locate whatever it was he threw away…
As soon as Ivelise landed in Pittsburgh, she called Rico and asked him about the mysterious package from the garbage. As luck would have it, Rico recovered the box with ease, but he waited until Ivelise returned home to open it.
When Ivelise finally returned home, she couldn’t contain her excitement about the contents of the box. Rico pulled out the package, the couple sat down in their bedroom, and they opened it up…
They stared down at the object inside and slowly pulled it out, careful not to drop and break it. It was a snow globe, and there was a picture frame inside. This was clearly a sentimental gift meant for someone, and Ivelise wasn’t just going to accept the fact someone lost something so special.
Ivelise immediately put up a Facebook post explaining what happened. She didn’t have an exorbitant amount of friends, but she hoped maybe her message could gain some traction. Amazingly, it did, and soon enough, someone called her who was willing to help.
It was an employee at the store Things Remembered in the mall near where Ivelise and Rico lived! They recognized the particular style of the snow globe and were able to pinpoint the customer who recently purchased it. So Ivelise attempted to return the globe…
Almost immediately after Ivelise rang the doorbell of the snow globe’s owner, she was greeted with the smiling face of Linda Modry. and she swept Ivelise into her arms to thank her for tracking her down.
Linda explained that she purchased the globe as a gift for her granddaughter, Katie, and it was Katie’s father Michael who was forced to throw out the present at the airport. Linda immediately called Michael and told him the incredible news.
Linda told Ivelise her granddaughter’s birthday was right around the corner, and the globe was supposed to be a special present. But, it wasn’t just any birthday, there was a particular reason why this globe meant a lot…
Katie was actually adopted, so the date inscribed on the silver base wasn’t just a birthday, it was the day Katie was officially welcomed into the Modry family! Linda wanted to give her the globe as a reminder that she was loved by everyone around her.
Ivelise was in tears after talking to Linda about the globe. The story behind the globe ran so much deeper than she ever imagined. She not only returned a gift to the rightful owner, but she was also was going to make a young girl’s birthday so much more special.
Linda and her husband couldn’t thank Ivelise enough for her selfless action. Linda even put Ivelise on the phone with Michael, the man she and Rico saw at the airport. Little Katie even joined the conversation to give her an enormous “thank you!”
After chatting for a while, Linda posed for a wonderful photo with Ivelise and Rico. This was an interaction she’d remember for the rest of her life, and Ivelise and Rico returned home with the knowledge they made a family birthday special again!
What was originally a TSA-related nightmare soon became a beautiful, sentimental memory in this particular case, but most TSA encounters don’t exactly go so swimmingly, especially when you’re new mother. Diaper bags are full of necessary baby items, and TSA doesn’t always approve of them.
Colorado mom Heather Andi Jones knew there was a chance her three-month-old daughter, Amelia, might throw a tantrum on the flight they were taking from Denver International Airport to Los Angeles.
She took every precaution she could to prevent a total meltdown. She found that when it came to children and planes, they were either total saints or complete disasters. There really was no in between.
A few days before the flight, Heather researched the best ways to keep children calm on a plane. She brought along plenty of Amelia’s toys to keep her occupied, but more importantly, she brought milk, the ultimate secret weapon.
Amelia was one of the most well-behaved children Heather knew. She rarely made a scene when they were out in public, so Heather was hopeful things would go smoothly. But of course, the two had never been on a plane before.
Milk was always what Heather turned to when Amelia started fussing. It didn’t matter whether they were at a restaurant or if it was simply late at night; Amelia would start to feed and immediately calm down.
Heather never had problems pumping enough milk, but in preparation for this trip, she pumped an extra amount of milk for Amelia. She couldn’t risk running out of the liquid before the flight was over. That would surely have spelled trouble.
The entire process of physically and mentally preparing for the flight was hard work, but Heather knew being a mom, in general, was hard work. She was mentally prepared to take on her biggest challenge of motherhood to date.
In her research, Heather learned the best way to transport milk and baby formula was freezing it overnight so it would stay cool throughout the trip. It sounded simple, but she did have some concerns.
She packed the frozen bottles on the morning of her flight and headed to the Denver International Airport. Collecting and prepping the milk was a time-consuming process, and she hoped the TSA wouldn’t give her any problems.
The airport was packed when Heather arrived. Two lanes of airport security were shut down, so the entire process was taking much longer than expected; it felt like they’d never leave. Heather hoped the milk would stay frozen and Amelia would remain calm.
Finally, Heather reached the TSA agents at the front and they began inspecting her things. Worry wasn’t on the new mother’s mind when her things were inspected, but that soon changed…
Heather knew she didn’t have anything she shouldn’t in her possession, so she patiently waited with Amelia. However, once the agent came to the milk, their demeanor completely changed.
Since TSA guidelines allowed for both fresh milk and breast milk, she was confused. Never before had she been pulled out of an airport line by security. She always followed the rules, but now she was getting nervous.
Then, the agent told her that after running the frozen liquid through one of their machines, it tested positive for explosives! The reason? Trace amounts of glycerin. Heather was stunned.
Now, glycerin is a common additive in baby wipes and hand lotions, which are completely safe products. However, the chemical can also be used to make dynamite, which is exactly why the TSA machine picked up on it.
The mother could have easily tainted the milk by mistake after handling wipes or lotion. Even if she washed her hands, trace amounts still could have trickled into the liquid, causing a false positive in the machine.
Because of the traces of glycerin, Heather was asked to stand aside until a female TSA agent arrived to give her a thorough pat down. The agent made her place Amelia in her stroller, and the toddler started bawling. Heather was overwhelmed from the stress.
Finally, the pat down ended and Heather scooped up Amelia, trying to calm her frantic baby. The agents made her dump out all of the milk, so Heather retreated to a waiting area to feed her toddler. If this entire ordeal wasn’t enough, a different TSA agent approached Heather and asked her to stop publicly feeding Amelia.
Everything that had happened was appalling. Luckily, she was able to finish feeding her daughter, and they soon caught a plane to Los Angeles. There, Heather found a great nursing room to give her daughter her next meal.
It seemed insane that something as simple as milk created such a stir at the airport. She had no idea her day would turn into such a stressful situation. Luckily, Amelia received her meals, but this was a lesson to Heather: it can be hard for breastfeeding moms to travel.
There’s a lot moms and soon-to-be moms must consider. Before even going into labor they’ve gotta make sure they’re ready for a lengthy hospital stay and get the house prepped for the baby. But one new mom recently learned of something else she should’ve considered…
On April 4, 2018, Elizabeth Eden was in labor at a Baltimore County hospital. Then, while suffering painful contractions, the doctor delivered bad news.
The doctor walked into the room, looked her straight in the eyes, and told her she tested positive for opiates, the same drug found in heroin — they’d have to take her baby away. But Elizabeth, below, had never done drugs in her life!
Racking her brain for an explanation, the soon-to-be mother remembered something she’d learned in a high school health class that explained the false positive.
See, earlier in the day, before she ended up at the hospital, Elizabeth stopped at her favorite cafe to pick up something for breakfast. She ordered her usual — a bagel.
More specifically, she ordered strawberry cream cheese on an everything bagel — a bagel coated in poppy seeds. Poppy seeds, Elizabeth knew, had been known to wreak havoc on drug tests — but why?
Farmers harvest poppy seeds from the poppy plant which contain the opiates found in opium, heroin, codeine, and morphine. While the seeds are perfectly safe to eat, they can turn up false positives on drug tests. This was what Elizabeth remembered.
To save her baby, Elizabeth tried explaining herself to the doctors and nurses. “I said, ‘Well, can you test me again? I ate a poppy seed bagel this morning for breakfast.'” But the doctor shook his head.
The second he saw the failed drug test, the doctor followed protocol and reported Elizabeth to the state as a potential drug user. Immediately after birth, doctors took baby Beatrice away.
Doctors told Elizabeth, “for the next five days, every 4 hours, we’re going to check her for withdrawal systems.” Elizabeth was in shock. “It was traumatizing,” she said. Was there nothing she could do?
At the end of a grueling five days, the hospital released Beatrice back to her parents: but that wasn’t the end to their awful ordeal.
Even with Beatrice home, state social workers continued investigating Elizabeth, dropping by the home to ensure Beatrice was doing a-okay — and that the mom wasn’t actually a drug addict.
For three weeks, social workers dropped by the house at random, checking in on the family. Meanwhile, Elizabeth presented the poppy seed defense to her assigned social worker. But did that have any real legal standing?
Jessica and Lon Binder / flickr
You might remember the episode of Seinfeld where, after eating a poppy seed muffin, Elaine failed a drug test, but ultimately kept her job thanks to “the poppy seed defense.” But the defense has legal precedent in reality, too.
In 2013, a Pennsylvania woman won nearly $150,000 in a lawsuit after the state took her baby away when she tested positive for opiates. She argued it had been poppy seeds that caused the false positive — and won!
So Elizabeth Eden gave the poppy seed defense to her caseworker, and, after putting up with even more bureaucracy, the official ultimately closed her file. Her family could be whole! Still, she wasn’t satisfied quite yet…
Elizabeth wrote to the hospital and detailed her research on poppy seeds and their effects on drug tests. She wanted to the hospital to either change what constitutes a “positive test” or warn expecting mothers about poppy seeds.
“We don’t typically educate patients” on the poppy seed drug test potential, Dr. Judith Rossiter-Pratt, the chief of the department of OBGYN at the hospital, below, said. Elizabeth’s letter, she said, made “a really good point.”
After writing the letter, Elizabeth posted in an all-moms Facebook page, warning others about the dangers of a poppy seed bagel. Her post received “a flood” of responses.
Facebook moms told her “‘Oh, this happened to a friend of mine,'” she said, “or, ‘Oh, this happened to me.'” The problem, it seemed, was a lot more far-reaching than she ever imagined. So she gave some advice…
“If you’re anywhere close to delivery,” she said, “avoid poppy seeds!” Just one more thing for pregnant mothers to worry about, but a precaution worth taking all the same — your family could depend on it!