Omer Petti and Madge Woodward expected the alarms to go off at the airport security's metal detector when they were flying home to Detroit after visiting family recently near San Diego.
After all, Petti, who is 95 years old, has two artificial knees and Woodward, at 85, has had her hip replaced. But they sure didn't expect to be subjected to accusations, extreme pat-downs, and most importantly, to be missing $300 in cash.
"Can you imagine an 85-year-old lady and 95-year-old retired Air Force Major in wheelchairs being treated like terrorists?" Petti asked recently sitting in the kitchen of the Bloomfield Township home he shares with Woodward.
On March 29 Petti and Woodward arrived at the San Diego International airport at 10 a.m. for a flight scheduled to leave at 11:36 a.m. As usual, Petti and Woodward removed their shoes, jackets and sweaters and put these along with their other belongings — belt buckles, carry on bags, purse and jewelry, including Petti's money clip — into a total of four rubber bins.
Petti says a security officer asked him to remove Kleenex and $300 in folded bills that he had in his pocket and send it through the detector. "I hesitated and said: 'You really want me to put my bills in there?' " Petti said. The officer said yes, so Petti put the cash into a fifth bin. Then he and Woodward proceeded through the metal detector.