TSA agent pokes fingers in ashes of traveler's dead grandfather, spills them on floor, cackles

Indianapolis resident John Gross was going through TSA security in the Orlando, Florida airport, carrying the cremated ashes of his Sicilian grandfather "in a tightly sealed jar marked 'Human Remains." TSA rules say that this sort of material in carry-on baggage must be labeled, and go through the X-ray machine, but that human remains are to be opened under “no circumstances.” Guess what happened? According to Gross, an idiot TSA agent ignored the agency's own rules, and caused the ashes to be spilled on the terminal floor.

"They opened up my bag, and I told them, 'Please, be careful. These are my grandpa's ashes,'" Gross told RTV6's Norman Cox. "She picked up the jar. She opened it up. "I was told later on that she had no right to even open it, that they could have used other devices, like an X-ray machine. So she opened it up. She used her finger and was sifting through it. And then she accidentally spilled it."

Gross says about a quarter to a third of the contents spilled on the floor, leaving him frantically trying to gather up as much as he could while anxious passengers waited behind him.

"She didn't apologize. She started laughing. I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn't pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me."

Gross says he wants “an apology from the lady who opened the jar and laughed at me."

More from the local ABC News affiliate in Indianapolis.

There's video here. More at the Orlando Sentinel.

Update: He got an apology, sort of. Conveniently, the TSA has lost surveillance video of the incident.

Gross said a high-ranking TSA official contacted him to empathize because of what transpired at the airport. He said the official claims that TSA cannot locate video of his exchange with the security worker. “I got the apology, but I got it from the wrong person,” Gross said.

Cory blogged about the incident when news first broke.