Airport security worker fired after giving traveler 'You Ugly' note

Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

"I was more confused than anything," Strassner said in an interview with NBC News.. "I kind of just looked at it and thought, 'That was weird.'"

Strassner said at first he simply found the mild insult to be bewildering. But as he shared the story with friends, a number of them pointed out how a seemingly minor incident could be harmful to someone living with depression or going through a traumatic experience.

"If you were bullied, that could be a big deal to somebody," he told the New York Post. "A smile could bring someone up from the ground and that note could drag them back down."

That sent him on a mission of accountability. First, he called the Greater Rochester International Airport, who told him they couldn't release the video of the incident without permission from the county. After calling the county, he got the same excuse. Eventually, he filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the federal government, who released the video to him. When he shared the video with the contract company who employed the woman who harassed him, they ignored him.

SoStrassner shared the video to Reddit where it immediately went viral. Two hours later, the company contacted him and eventually fired the employee.

RELATED: It's National Tell a Joke Day and Twitter delivered with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told

After all, this wasn't a one-off "joke." Video of the incident shows the unnamed employee tearing off another piece of cardboard. Though it's unclear if she was preparing to target another unassuming passenger, the implication is clear enough.

"TSA holds contractors to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for this type of behavior," reads a statement from the TSA. "This instance, which involved a contract employee, was investigated immediately upon receiving the complaint by the traveler. The employee has since been terminated by the contractor."

For his part, Strassner said he understands the stress airline security contracters face in their jobs. He's not even opposed to them passing along the occasional grievance note but he just thinks it should be the right message and sent to the right person.

"I don't like throwing negativity around," he said. "What about a note that says, 'Hey, next time bring me tacos'?"

via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading

The Free the Nipple movement is trying to remove the stigma on women's breasts by making it culturally acceptable and legal for women to go topless in public. But it turns out, Free the Nipple might be fighting on the wrong front and should be focusing on freeing the nipple in a place you'd never expect. Your own home.

A woman in Utah is facing criminal charges for not wearing a shirt in her house, with prosecutors arguing that women's chests are culturally considered lewd.

Keep Reading

In August, the Recording Academy hired their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. Ten days before the Grammys, Dugan was placed on administrative leave for misconduct allegations after a female employee said Dugan was "abusive" and created a "toxic and intolerable" work environment. However, Dugan says she was actually removed from her position for complaining to human resources about sexual harassment, pay disparities, and conflicts of interest in the award show's nomination process.

Just five days before the Grammys, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her claims are many. Dugan says she was paid less than former CEO Neil Portnow. In 2018, Portnow received criticism for saying women need to "step up" when only two female acts won Grammys. Portnow decided to not renew his contract shortly after. Dugan says she was also asked to hire Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 a year, which she refused to do.

Keep Reading