A Venezuelan man has been fined nearly $90,000 for a joke he made in an airport saying he was carrying C-4 explosives.
The incident occurred on Oct. 22 at Miami International Airport, where Manuel Alvarado, 60, was about to board his flight to Bogota, Columbia. When security stopped him and asked routine questions, he made the regretful decision of joking about carrying explosives.
The Venezuelan doctor’s tasteless joke caused an evacuation and delays, and a bomb squad was called in. In order to avoid charges of making a false bomb threat and criminal mischief, he has agreed to pay a fine of $89,172.
Brian Bieber, Alvarado’s attorney, told AFP that his client was sorry for making the joke and said it was a “momentary lapse of reason.”
“He is extremely remorseful,” Bieber said. “He had no intent to place anyone in fear. He made what turned out to be the worst mistake of his life.”
Believe it or not, this is not the first time a passenger has joked about bombs in an airport. In November, a man on board a plane at Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Philippines was arrested for joking that he couldn’t put his bag in the overhead because he had explosives in it. Last year, a 43-year-old man was apprehended at Miami’s airport for joking to a TSA agent that he had a bomb.
Business travel expert Joe Brancatelli fails to see the humor in these types of jokes. “There is never an excuse for that kind of joke,” Brancatelli told Yahoo Travel. “Even 13 years from 9/11, there is simply no reason to try to mine that vein of humor. Security personnel have no stomach for it; they are trained to overreact and assume there is evil intent. And, most importantly, no one finds this stuff funny.”