Kudos Across America – Detroit

Wednesday, January 24, 2024
DTW TSO Keyona Espree assists a passenger at the TDC position.  (Photo courtesy of Team DTW)

I was recently flying with my wife and our 29-year-old special needs son who has autism and intellectual/developmental disability.

When we were providing our IDs and boarding passes to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) TSA Officer (TSO) Keyona Espree, she recognized that our special needs son was getting a bit overwhelmed and edgy. We thought we could manage him and so we did not ask for any assistance. But she immediately recognized that he would need assistance and may have hard time standing in the security check line. 

DTW TSO Keyona Espree.  (Photo courtesy Team DTW)
DTW TSO Keyona Espree. (Photo courtesy Team DTW)

She asked us if our son would be able to stand still in the metal detector with his hands raised up. We told her it is unpredictable; sometimes he can and sometimes he struggles. She immediately sprang to action and said, “Let me help you.”

She walked us through expedited security check-in process, talked with the security officer to make sure our son could be scanned using a wand instead of walking through the metal detector. Keyona stayed with our son and talked with him in a very calm, soft voice and helped him walk through the process. It became absolutely clear to us that she knew exactly how to handle individuals like our son.

(TSA Stock photo)
(TSA Stock photo)

This was the smoothest check-in process we have experienced in about 20 years that we had been flying with our son. At the end, she provided us with a very important piece of information that no one else had mentioned to us before. She told us to contact TSA Cares and explain to them our situation so that they can help us in future. We would definitely be calling them.

I thought I should bring to your notice the help she provided us even though we did not ask for any, but on her own she figured out that some assistance would help us in a big way. And it did. TSA ought to be proud of officers like her who are so understanding and compassionate.

Thank you so much Keyona for taking care of us on that day.