Phoenix, AZ — Chille Bergstrom is a 9-year-old boy who’s endured more pain and suffering than any child should ever have to deal with because of a rare defect in his heart. However, his pacemaker and his 15 open heart surgeries were nothing compared to the abuse and harassment of TSA.
Chille is no stranger to flying. He was born with a rare congenital disease called Goldenhar Syndrome which has caused his heart to develop incompletely. He’s constantly traveling to receive medical care. And, up until this week, his traveling experiences have been pleasant.
Because of his condition, Chille has a pacemaker, and he and his family are required to request alternative screening when they fly. The Bergstroms have all the documentation to support their special needs for screening modifications required to keep little Chille alive.
The alternative screening is a simple, two-minute process in which Chille bypasses the metal detectors and naked body scanners.
When the Bergstroms show the TSA their documentation and they see Chille, who clearly has a pacemaker, they usually smile and allow him through. But not this time.
This exemption required them to be delayed over an hour as they were shaken down by ‘terror experts’ from DHS, TSA, and police.
“[I was] shocked beyond belief. In walks the head of the Department of Homeland Security for the entire airport, followed by other supervisors, and managers with ten other people from TSA,” said Ali.
“And four police officers,” Chille added.
“With everything, guns, Tasers, all that,” said Chille.
According to the Bergstroms, the TSA berated them for over an hour as they demeaned the child and his parents.
“One of the TSA agents told me they’d prevented terrorist attacks using nine-year-old boys with pacemakers and children before, so I laughed and said, ‘Oh when?’ At that point, the TSA agent became very quiet and said, ‘Oh we’re not at liberty to discuss this,’ ” recounted Ali.
It is also no secret that the TSA failed to stop 95 percent of tests simulating potential terror attacks at major airports. The $8 billion spent on the TSA every year has proven to be entirely worthless — and brutal.
“Could you please explain to me what’s happening right now? Because I’m not used to this,” Chille asked during his hostile detainment.
The poor child thought that he’d done something wrong to deserve this treatment.
“It was very scary,” said Chille, “I thought it was my fault.”
“Because he has been reared with this pacemaker I always tried to empower him,” the mother explained to FOX 9. “This was the first time I’d ever heard him talk like this,” she said.
After treating a sick little boy and his parents like terrorists, the TSA then canceled their flights.
“At that point, the TSA agent said he wouldn’t be flying today,” Ali said. “He woke up with nightmares on Saturday night and on Sunday night,” Ali told FOX 9.
In a statement to FOX 9, TSA Spokesman Nico Melendez wrote, “TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy. TSA is reviewing Saturday’s incident and working to contact the family.”
In true tyrannical fashion, the Bergstroms never received so much as a verbal apology from the TSA.
“TSA has not contacted me. No one has apologized. No one has reached out,” said Ali.
“It was really terrible,” the nine-year-old affirmed. “The representative said ‘We will find you and apologize,’ and you know what they did? They did the exact opposite.”
In spite of being severely traumatized by his experience, this brave little boy said he hopes that people sharing his story will prevent it from happening to others.
“Not just me, but any heart kid,” Chille said.
Sadly, and infuriatingly, this is the second time in just a short period the TSA has attacked someone’s disabled child.
As the Free Thought Project previously reported, in June, Hannah Cohen, a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patient, was attempting to travel back home to Chattanooga with her mother when she was told by TSA she needed additional screening. Only minutes later, Cohen, who is blind in one eye and deaf, would be in handcuffs on the ground with blood pouring from her head thanks to airport police and the TSA.