Break cut short, Orlando TSA officer saves life

Thursday, October 13, 2022
Officer Pitre photo

During a work break, Orlando International Airport TSA Officer Iliana Pitre took a stroll outside, only to cut her break short … for good reason.

Pitre bag search photo
Orlando International Airport (MCO) TSA Officer Iliana Pitre conducts a bag search. (Photo by TSA MCO)

Pitre saw a disoriented man, who was nearly hit by a car, in an airport parking lot. She noticed he was suffering from a serious health problem, and she quickly rushed to help.

“He was unsteady and walking erratically in the middle of the street, and I could tell he needed help,” Pitre recalled. “He was leaning on and grabbing onto parked cars to hold himself up. I felt the urge to help him, especially because no one else was around at the time, and he appeared to be in danger.”

As she started talking with the man, he seemed confused.

“I asked him some questions about where he was and what day it was, which he couldn’t answer correctly,” said Pitre. “I asked him to hold his hands up to see if he was steady, and he was unable to, so I decided to call 911 to get help.”

Then, fellow TSA Officer Luis Guevara arrived on the scene and dialed 911. Within moments, the man’s phone rang, and Pitre answered it. The man’s daughter and wife were calling, worried and wondering where he was. The man flew from Chicago to Orlando and was scheduled to pick up his car and drive home, but he was late.

Pitre stayed on the phone with the family members while Guevara remained on the line with the emergency dispatcher until first responders arrived. Paramedics then spoke with the daughter before taking the man to a nearby hospital.

We’re happy to report the man got the treatment he needed and is doing much better.

The man’s daughter called Pitre an “angel.”

Passenger pat down photo
Orlando International Airport (MCO) TSA Officer Iliana Pitre pats down a passenger. (Photo by TSA MCO)

“My dad said she stayed with him the whole time,” said the daughter. “I believe if she didn’t find him, it would have been much worse. Not too many people these days help our random people on the streets. … We are so thankful for her and her kind soul.”

“I am just so glad he is OK now and that I was there to help him,” Pitre replied.

Facebook post photo
A friend of the family, whose loved one TSA Officer Iliana Pitre helped at Orlando International Airport, posted this thank you note on Facebook.

Orlando TSA Federal Security Director Pete Garcia called Pitre a phenomenal TSA officer, saying, “She’s bright, committed to the mission and extremely kind. It is not surprising to see her act in such a heroic and decisive manner. It’s an honor to work with her.”

Pitre encourages each of us to “never hesitate to help those who appear to be in need.”

“It is very satisfying personally to know I saw him and could do something for him and his family,” she said. “He seemed like such a nice man.”

By Don Wagner, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs