Heidi Wright, who has been disabled and unable to speak for 10 years because of a stroke, was reportedly denied a flight at the Los Angeles International Airport because she had an expired ID and couldn't speak her name to a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent.
"[The TSA agent] just wanted me to make my sister talk, and I couldn't believe it," Heidi's sister Sherry Wright told KABC (video below). "I was like, 'Wow, we're going to make a miracle right now.'"
"I showed her ID, her social and her DMV papers," added Sherry. "I was shocked. I was just standing there, tears were coming out and I was like, 'Are you serious? We can't get her to talk.'"
Heidi was supposed to fly to Phoenix on Wednesday, but ended up taking an eight-hour bus trip because of the TSA's demands.
An unidentified TSA official told the Daily Mail, "The traveler was not denied access to the sterile area because the passenger couldn’t speak. Valid photo ID is required."
The TSA official confirmed that a copy of Heidi's social security card and expired California state ID were shown to TSA agents.
"The photo on the California ID photocopy was so dark the face was indistinguishable," said the TSA official.
However, it's not clear why the TSA agent would insist a disabled woman speak, when she could not, if her expired ID barred her from flying.
Nico Melendez, a spokeswoman for the TSA, told KABC, "I think it could have been handled differently by the TSA and it probably could have been handled differently by the family, and hopefully moving forward the family won't have this problem again, because they know about the programs that we have in place."