I was waiting longer than usual on the sterile side of the security checkpoint as TSA officers rescanned my backpack and a smaller bag containing my toiletries separately (I suppose they didn’t like how I packed my toothpaste).
Looking over, I saw a young woman and her toddler, an adorable little girl who I would later observe to be extremely bright and inquisitive. The girl was sobbing as the mother held her hand and a TSA officer aggressively patted the woman down. The toddler sobbed “mommy!” in between incoherent words, struggling to articulate her confusion and fear. I knew what she was trying to say: “Mommy, why is a stranger touching you like this?”