As someone who took 92 flights in 2018, I have the utmost respect and gratitude for TSA Agents and FAA employees currently working without pay. Having spent some time in food service and hospitality, I can’t begin to imagine dealing with that many people. Not to forget the additional stress that travel and security adds to even the most well tempered personalities.

Just When You Thought Security Couldn’t Get More Awkward

I’ve cleared security over a half dozen times since the shutdown started, and have struggled at times as to what to say (and do) to show my appreciation. Taking my headphones out, making eye contact and saying thank you to every agent I encounter is something that I already do. I always make sure to do that bare minimum and depending on how the agent responds, enjoy in that ever so brief yet pleasant banter.

Usually it’s no more than a “hey there, hi there, hello, how’s it going, thank you have a good day.”

How in that 5 seconds when they’re checking your info are you supposed to say: “Hey, I’m really sorry for all the shit that’s going on. I appreciate the fact that you showed up to work today without getting paid to keep people like me safe’? without being awkward?

Let alone slowing down the already longer lines or worst, starting an argument.

Can You or Can’t You?

In a bunch of the Facebook travel groups I spend too much time reading, there’s been much discussion on how to give TSA agents gift cards or other forms of donations. At the beginning of the shutdown, an overwhelmingly number of responses were: “Nope.” Some groups wouldn’t even approve posts because of the repetitiveness of the question and the arguments they were causing.

Now as we enter a full month of the government being shutdown and TSA agents face a 2nd missed paycheck, it appears that policies have been formed to handle such a demand to give.

Yes, You Can Donate! It’s Not If, But How & Where

KGW8 in Portland, Oregon has received an official response to how the public can make contributions to all federal workers affected during the shutdown:

Their source, Thomas Kelly, a spokesperson with the TSA’s Office of Public Affairs specifically said TSA agents cannot accept gifts of any kind at the airport directly from travelers. This is because doing so could distract them or create the appearance of favoritism.

Additionally, agents cannot accept donations unless they’re being distributed to all federal employees. This is why a donation bin that’s been placed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is allowed: the donations are being distributed among all federal employees at the airport. 

To ensure that federal workers are able to receive your donation, ensure they are non-cash gifts worth under $20.

Kelly continued: “[TSA agents] are grateful for everyone’s gratitude. It makes a difference. Public support from passengers, industry groups, and community organizations underscores the importance of TSA’s work in securing aviation.”

If your local airport has not yet posted or announced a centralized donation area, you can also take items/gift cards to the TSA office in each terminal.

The post How to Contribute to TSA Agents & FAA Employees in Need was first published on Coworkaholic.

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