Washington officer averts dangerous situation at checkpoint

Monday, June 7, 2021
Spokane International Airport (GEG) TSA Officer Benjamin Blue.  (Photo by Daniel Hutchinson)

 “I didn’t know he [TSA Officer Benjamin Blue] could move like that. I don’t think I have ever seen him move that fast,” recalled Spokane International Airport (GEG) Supervisory TSA Officer Daniel Hutchinson.  situated on the escalator steps

Blue was screening a passenger at Checkpoint C when he heard a commotion coming from the base of the escalator. “I was screening a [passenger in a] wheelchair and heard a loud noise with people exclaiming,” said Blue. “Based on the sound and location, I thought someone must have fallen down the escalator.”

And that was exactly the case. 

An elderly woman was struggling to get her bags situated on the escalator steps when she lost her balance on the moving stairs and fell backwards with all her bags, down several of the escalator stairs.

Hearing an unfamiliar noise and loud voices, and not missing a beat, Blue ran to the base of the escalator, hit the emergency E-Stop button and bent down to assist the fallen passenger. Once he disentangled the bags from the traveler, he assessed her condition.

Spokane International Airport TSA Officer Blue concentrates on an X-ray image.  (Photo by Daniel Hutchinson)
Spokane International Airport TSA Officer Blue concentrates on an X-ray image.  (Photo by Daniel Hutchinson)

Though she had taken a hard tumble and hit her head, she appeared to have sustained only minor injuries. Blue remained with the passenger until emergency personnel arrived, but she declined assistance from the responders.

“You never know how a person is going to act during an emergency until action is required,” commented Hutchinson. “TSO Blue’s actions were lightning fast, precise and without hesitation. Thanks to his quick thinking, no additional harm came to the passenger after her fall.”

 “TSO Blue showed excellent initiative in a stressful situation,” said TSA Manager Shannon Takao. “Thank you TSO Blue for your swift response to assist the passenger. You are a valued member of GEG TSA.”

“TSO Ben Blue is an outstanding member of the TSA screening force,” said Supervisory TSA Manager Aaron Davenport. “His use of 360-degree awareness allowed him to see a passenger in need before anyone else. Through quick thinking, he immediately assisted the elderly woman and demonstrated that a passenger’s TSA experience is so much more than security.”

Editor’s Note: Blue’s efforts have been locally recognized and submitted for a monetary recognition through the Joint Awards Committee.