hand holding broken cane (l) young woman in airport (c) broken cane on bench (r)


‘You’re essentially breaking our legs, breaking our arms’: Disabled TikToker says the TSA broke her cane at airport

'I knew that this would happen to me eventually, because it happens to friends of mine every f*cking day'


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on Jul 8, 2022   Updated on Jul 12, 2022, 6:41 am CDT

Since 2018, airlines have lost or damaged more than 15,000 wheelchairs, according to a Washington Post report.

One TikToker shared her experience of becoming one of the flyers whose mobility aids was damaged while traveling. User Lyn (@lynventimiglia) told her viewers that her adjustable cane was snapped in half at the Los Angeles International Airport. She says it was damaged by the Transportation Security Administration TSA.

Her video, shared Thursday, received over 1.3 million views as of Friday.

@lynventimiglia I knew it would happen to me eventually but it doesnt make it hurt any less🥵They SNAPPED my cane in HALF. Its not fixable. Disabled people deserve better than this #tsa #flying #ada #disabilitytiktok #disability ♬ original sound – Lyn Ventimiglia

“As most of you in the disabled community know, our wheelchairs and canes are broken by the hundreds every single day,” she says in the video. “This is something that the TSA needs to stop. They completely snapped my wire in half. I knew that this would happen to me eventually, because it happens to friends of mine every fucking day. But I’ve got to tell you when it does finally happen, it really sucks.”

Lyn equated the breaking of mobility aids to breaking a limb. A 2021 Teen Vogue piece phrases the breaking of a wheelchair as a “matter of life and death” for disabled travelers.

“I have this three-day trip ahead and I really don’t know how I’m going to get around, so great job TSA,” Lyn adds. “Really great job. The ADA was passed in the 90s, but just shove shit in. Break wheelchairs, break canes, you’re essentially breaking our legs, breaking our arms. But that doesn’t matter, does it?”

It’s not a matter of putting the two halves of the cane back together, Lyn says. An inner cord allowing the cane to be adjusted to a more helpful length was snapped, leaving it at waist height.

“So now, with the inner cord snapped, it’s not adjustable,” she says. “It comes to up here (gesturing at her hip) so it’s not helpful for me with balancing.”

Some commenters on the video shared similar experiences of having their mobility aids damaged by TSA while traveling.

“They damaged my wheelchair and then denied it,” one commenter wrote. “They told me that I must have done it.”

“I used to work at an airport and TSA did this to me, and I worked there,” another commenter wrote. “TSA isn’t trained. They’re the people who couldn’t get jobs as security officers or cops so they do shit like this because their pay sucks and they are miserable. I’m sorry this happened to you honey.”

“This happens to type one diabetics too,” a commenter wrote. “They try to force us to go through the metal detector with our pumps and sensors and it kills them. One girl told me she was forced to go through and it broke her transmitter and burned her arm. These are life saving devices. It’s not ok.”

Update July 12, 6:40am CT: When reached for comment, TSA Press Secretary Carter Langston told the Daily Dot in a statement: “We take all traveler concerns about our security checkpoint screening processes seriously and are committed to ensuring every traveler is treated respectfully and courteously. TSA launched a review of the incident and will not comment on this specific event. While at the checkpoint, those travelers who need assistance, have concerns or questions may request to speak with a Supervisor or ask for a Passenger Support Specialist.”

This story has been corrected to reflect airlines, not the TSA, lost or damaged 15,000 wheelchairs.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @lynventimiglia via Instagram direct message.

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*First Published: Jul 8, 2022, 9:12 am CDT