After a vacation with her two kids in honor of Spring break, Stacie Vroman and her husband experienced a nightmare in Florida that no breastfeeding mom should have to endure.
According to Stacie, she and her family arrived at St. Pete-Clearwater International airport an hour and a half before their flight home to Michigan, but TSA officials stopped them because of her two bottles of breast milk. Although this story starts out like many other infuriating tales of new moms who are questioned and oftentimes held over their breast milk, Stacie's situation is arguably even more upsetting.
Stacie claims that she took the breast milk out of her bag and alerted agents to them before the screening process began, per TSA's requirements on their website. "They set it aside and then said we had to check it. I said, 'OK, that's fine.' I understand that and it just sat there," Stacie told ABC Action News. "I said, 'Are you guys going to check it?'"
After continuing to wait for security to check the two three-ounce bottles of milk, Stacie said that she asked to speak to a supervisor while the rest of her family waited at the gate. "It almost felt like they were being vindictive at that point . . . almost a power trip or something and I don't know if they weren't trained properly with how to test it," she said. "And I had asked TSA, I said, 'Can you guys just check it because I have to get on the flight.' Like I'm my child's source of food . . . so I have to be on the same flight, otherwise we don't have a way to feed him," she told Wood TV.
When TSA agents still didn't move forward in checking the milk, Stacie asked if she could just dump out the bottles so that she could board the flight with her family. "I have to go because I have to be able to feed him. And they said, 'No, you can't leave,'" Stacie said. "As a mom, to be able to feed your kid and feel like you're not going to be able to, it was extremely frustrating."
Not only did Stacie and her family miss their flights and have to pay to get new tickets home, they also had to take a much later flight that went to a different, further-away airport. This meant that they also had to pay for a rental car to drive home that night. After the incident went viral, Stacie said that the airline contacted her and offered to refund the change-of-flight fees. According to ABC Action News, TSA said in an emailed statement that the "officers working at the checkpoint correctly followed all procedures." They also said that Stacie passed through the metal detectors 12 minutes before her flight's departure.
"No one wants to take responsibility for it either. I will take responsibility in saying that you know, maybe I should have gotten there even earlier. I will say that, but the unfortunate thing is how early would have been early enough? You know, the lines were so long. I don't even think that would have matter(ed)," Stacie said. "It's probably too much to ask that they change policy for breastfeeding moms, but just having human decency to understand that all I really was trying to do was feed my child. I went and I followed their guidelines."