Airport International News - June 2013

Airport Security Allow Child Through with Toy Passport

Posted by Victoria Knowles - Airport International Reporter on 13/06/2013 - 11:30:00

Build-A-Bear Passport

There have been stories in the past about people sneaking through customs without a passport, but not so much toy passports.

Nine-year-old Emily Harris was allowed through customs in Turkey with a toy passport for her stuffed unicorn, identifying her as the mythical creature.

Her parents were flabbergasted when Turkish officials stamped Lily the unicorn's ID, specially made through the Build-A-Bear service.

The misunderstanding occurred when mother Nicky mistakenly offered the wrong passport at a control station in Antalya.

But border staff evidently failed to notice the golden teddy bears on the front of the "ID" and regarded it as authentic, granting Lily the unicorn access to the country.

43 year-old Nicky from Cwmbran, South Wales, said she didn't realise her error until she was putting the passports back in her bag. She experienced a moment of panic thinking that the officials would realise and come after them, but no such thing happened.

Build-A-Bear Passport Used for Small Child

She said the passport in question doesn't even look authentic - it is completely different in size to her and husband Allen's passport and the front is decorated with gold teddy bears.

Build-A-Bear Passport

The man even questioned Emily on how old she was, and he stamped it after she answered nine, Nicky said.

Nicky only realised she had handed the officer the unicorn's passport instead of Emily's real passport when they got outside.

The picture should have been enough to fool staff, as it was a picture of a pink unicorn, not Emily.

To make matters worse, Lily the unicorn was not even present at the time - she had been excluded from the family holiday and left at home in Cwmbran.

But the family saw the humorous side and laughed at how the officer could have even stamped the passport.

Officials in all countries are supposed to verify passenger details and scan passports before permitting them entry into their country. But evidently, on this occasion this procedure was not followed through correctly.

Nicky did consider the repercussions of the incident.

"But at the same time, it's a worry to any parent, how easy it would be to smuggle a child through customs and into another country," she said.

Image Copyright Build-A-Bear WorkshopTM

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