Taking Sense Away

Imaginary Terror Plot: 2nd Place Winner (Though This One is Based on a True Story): A TSA Agent Heroically Saves a Grandmother from Explosives-laced Cash, Without Even Telling Her


Note: The following is one of the winners of the first annual Imaginary Plots contest I held a few months ago, submitted by a grandmother who asked to go by G.G. She used her submission to transform her allegedly true story (she’s a really smart, funny and cool grandma I discovered in emailing back and forth, so let’s just go ahead and call it a true story) of having money stolen at Denver International into a clever terrorist plot, which was exactly what I was looking for, and the reason that she’s one of the winners.

This is a true story, one that’s so frightening to me that I shake just recalling the details.

Returning from a visit with my grandson’s family in Denver, I joined the wonderful passenger collection/organization lines at the Denver airport. I was thinking I would simply face the typical meticulous hands-on screening that keeps America safe. I swear, I had no idea that I was carrying what was effectively a bomb, waiting to be detonated.

Just before heading to the TSA lines, I’d bought a newspaper and some snacks at a newsstand, where I received $37 in change from my $50 bill. Since airport employees are always above board, it became clear to me later that the currency I received was planted by the customers ahead of me. One had paid with a large number of single dollar bills, making the cash register nearly overflow with them. His comrade had paid with an explosive $20 a few moments earlier, and another colleague had paid with a $10 just before that.

Thank God the TSA was on top of this. I reached the head of the line, and due to my hip replacement, I set off one of those extraordinary machines that catch every speck of everything under my clothes. While one TSA professional checked very carefully to determine if I had explosives in my pants or brassiere, another TSA agent used his exceptional eagle-eyes, and saw the x-ray of the coins and suspicious bills in my change purse. He seized my small money pouch, holding it up and showing it to me.

“This has to go through again,” he said, as he walked off with the zippered leather folder.

And that’s when he found the explosives on my dollar bills. With stunning courage and heroism, the eagle-eyed TSA expert removed a large foldover of bills inside the money pouch, which included the tainted $20, $10 and seven single dollar bills. The contaminated money had spread explosives to nearby dollars; the TSA man was smart enough to remove the entire bunch of them. All of the hazardous currency was quickly moved on to the bomb squad, where it was detonated.

He was so modest, he didn’t even mention it to me. He simply did his job, and called it a day. Like so many of his colleagues, he showed dedication above and beyond the call of duty.

I’d landed back home when I realized what had happened, and my eyes welled up with tears of appreciation and relief. I’m in awe of those amazing TSA agents, who put their lives on the line every hour of every work day. That man kept me–and all the passengers on my flight–out of harm’s way. I can’t possibly thank him enough.

-Grateful Grandma