After taking time off from school to assist her family, who were recovering from Hurricane Harvey, Diana Durkin was excited to be heading back to campus on January 6. But one of the sophomore’s actions, a finger gun salute she directed at a fellow student while in the airport, caught security’s attention, leading her to be questioned by the TSA.
The incident took place in Houston at William P. Hobby Airport, where Durkin was catching an outbound flight.
“I love Texas Tech. I love the people; I love the school. Anytime I see someone, I get really excited,” said 19-year-old Durkin.
Students and fans of the school often acknowledge each other with a finger gun salute, a nod to the Masked Rider, TTU’s mascot, as well as the “wreck ‘em” slogan. While waiting in the security line, Durkin saw a man wearing a Texas Tech hoodie, causing her to throw up the finger gun reflexively.
Durkin’s quick gesture didn’t go unnoticed and, soon, she was being led away from the line and questioned about her use of the finger gun, a moment that she shared on Twitter.
“In the airport security line,” said Durkin, “and I see someone wearing a Texas Tech hoodie and I look at them and do the gun hand signal because wreck em amiright.”
“TSA is now pulling me aside to talk to me,” she added.
Durkin recalled, according to a report by Fox News, that the TSA agent told her, “What are you doing? You can’t do that in an airport.”
“Oh my gosh, they think I’m a terrorist. Oh my gosh, I’m going to jail,” she thought while receiving a pat down and being subject to a full screening. “No, I’m just really dumb, I’m not a terrorist.” During the process, Durkin was “almost in tears.”
Ultimately, and after some time, Durkin was released by the TSA and only given a warning after she assured them that she had learned her lesson and it wouldn’t happen again.
Even though the incident had her “scared to death,” Durkin and her family now treat the ordeal as a funny story.