Taking a semester off from Texas Tech University to help her family recover from Hurricane Harvey, Diana Durkin was thrilled to return to campus for her sophomore year. But ironically, it was her enthusiasm that nearly halted her plans when she was stopped by the TSA before a Jan. 6 flight out of William P. Hobby Airport in Houston.
“I love Texas Tech. I love the people, I love the school. Anytime I see someone I get really excited,” the 19-year-old told BuzzFeed News.
In a nod to TTU’s mascot, the Masked Rider, Durkin said that Texas Tech fans often salute each other with a finger gun and a “Wreck ‘em” slogan when they see each other — which is exactly what got her flagged by the TSA.
Waiting on line for security, Durkin spotted a man in a Texas Tech hoodie, and reflexively threw up a finger gun, to which he gave an odd look. Moments after, a TSA agent led her out of line to question the gesture. Taking to Twitter in a panic to detail the incident, Durkin’s well-intentioned mishap soon went viral.
“In the airport security line and I see someone wearing a Texas Tech hoodie and I look at them and do the gun hand signal because wreck em amiright [sic]. tsa is now pulling me aside to talk to me,” she wrote in a post that soon won over 3,700 retweet sand 38,000 likes.
“‘What are you doing? You can’t do that in an airport,’” Durkin remembered the agent telling her, reports BuzzFeed. She added that the agent followed up by giving her a full screening and pat down, nearly sending Durkin to tears.
“Oh my gosh, they think I’m a terrorist… Oh my gosh I’m going to jail,” Durkin remembered thinking. “I’m just sitting there, almost in tears, like, ‘No, I’m just really dumb, I’m not a terrorist!’”
Durkin, however, said the TSA eventually let her off with just a warning, after she assured them she learned her lesson.
Durkin and her family have since decided to treat the incident as a funny story — even though Durkin admitted that the ordeal really had her “scared to death.”