What do you discuss with your TSA agent?
Believe it or not, that’s a question I often ask myself as I approach the gatekeepers of airport security. Is it the weather? Do I venture a joke about the tumultuous sea of humanity I just traversed? Should I preemptively acknowledge the fact that my ID looks like it’s been acid washed (it does)?
Thankfully, that question was answered for me on my latest trip.
“Thank you Officer Mady,” I said to the agent. “Thanks for making sure that doubled-edged knife didn’t make it on my flight.”
You see, someone who works for the Transportation Security Administration within the Charleston International Airport has posted “Great Catch” signs throughout airport security lines — an arena where eyes are prone to wander and likely land on graphic images of weapons.
But instead of simply declaring these items aren’t allowed in your carry-on (duh), beneath the images are stories about how Charleston TSA agents have detected these very items during the course of security screenings.
All of a sudden, Officer Smith and I had something to talk about.
What’s more, rather than someone about to hassle me for failing to remove my belt, Officer Smith was humanized in my eyes — and then some. As far as I was concerned, she was a hero for making sure that borderline machete wasn’t flying to Denver in the seat next to me.
It was a stroke of genius from a PR perspective for an agency whose employees are rarely recognized as sympathetic human beings, let alone celebrated. And it serves as a valuable reminder for all brands. Your time is rarely wasted when you choose to celebrate your employees — even if it’s for the everyday tasks they’re charged with executing.
Not only will it help with internal morale, it may also spark a cheerful conversation amongst strangers. And it’s no secret we could use a few more of those these days.