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Worst Passenger of the Week: The Gambler Who Pushed Her Luck

Worst Passenger of the Week: The Gambler Who Pushed Her Luck
Jeff Edwards

Every Friday, FlyerTalk looks back at the week’s most charming individuals. While there are always plenty of contenders for our Worst Passenger of the Week award, only one lucky flyer can take home the glory. Here are this week’s winners.

Honorable Mention – Dangerous Itinerary Stopped Short of Final Destination

Airport Police at Oakland International Airport (OAK) managed to safely take a man with an apparent death-wish into custody this week. Fabian Roca-Ruiz allegedly told investigators that he went to the airport with the intention of stabbing a deputy as part of an apparent “suicide by cop” attempt. Police credit an officer with extensive “de-escalation training” for helping to peacefully resolve the fraught situation.

According to authorities, Roca-Ruiz approached squad cars at the airport while brandishing a knife. The police cars were unoccupied, but deputies spotted the 27-year-old carrying the weapon and suspiciously peering into the vehicles. Over the next several moments, Roca-Ruiz alternately dropped the knife, picked it up again and walked towards police who had weapons trained on him, before eventually being convinced to surrender.

“We believe, based on what he told us, that during those moments he was looking for a cop sitting in their cars to confront them or stab them in hopes of getting killed,” an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told reporters. “Had a cop been in the car with window open, this would be a very different story.”

Third Place – Trust Me, I Work Here

A man who refused to show John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) TSA screeners his identification and instead offered assurances that he worked at the airport, was arrested after he pushed his way past the document checkpoint and simply placed his backpack and personal items on the X-ray belt. Police say when the unidentified man was told to leave the screening area, he responded by attempting to force his way into the secure air side of the terminal.

When Port Authority Police arrived, TSA workers had blocked the man’s path and escorted him away from the checkpoint. Officers at the scene were unable to confirm the suspect’s claim that he was a recently hired airport worker but discovered that the subject was allegedly in possession of false identification documents. More seriously, he was also said to have been in possession of a loaded 9mm handgun.

The purported new hire was taken into custody on a laundry list of offenses. If the armed, unbadged airport trespasser was indeed telling the truth about being JFK’s newest employee, he will have a tough time not being tardy for what should likely make for a very awkward employee orientation session.

The Runner-up – Baby Come Back

A passenger on a Saudia flight from Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) accidentally left something much more precious than a personal item behind at the gate this week. The flight was obliged to return to the airport when the panicked flyer realized her baby was not on the plane.

Audio from a now-viral video, shared thousands of times already, captures the moment when the captain contacted the tower to request permission to turn the plane around. Air traffic controllers made the pilot repeat the request out of disbelief before clearing the flight to return.

“May God be with us,” the captain can be heard radioing. “Can we come back or what?”

“This flight is requesting to come back…a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing,” controllers reply before asking the flight crew to confirm the reason for the request.

“We told you, a passenger left her baby in the terminal and refuses to continue the flight,” the captain offers.

“Ok, head back to the gate,” ATC responds finally. “This is totally a new one for us.”

According to some media accounts, the incident was more of a case of miscommunication and bad luck than an astonishing case of forgetfulness. The mother had reportedly left her baby in the care of a relative and travel companion who mistakenly boarded the wrong shuttle and missed the flight at the last minute.

The Winner – Busted on the Double Down

(Source: Flight Aware)

Airline workers and police at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) did everything possible to accommodate an erratic passenger this week, but authorities say Patricia Medina was determined to push her luck until she ended up in handcuffs. By the time the 43-year-old was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer, she had already been given several opportunities to walk away from the table – even after earlier being cited (but not taken to jail) over accusations she punched, kicked and bit a Southwest Airlines flight attendant.

According to police, the saga started when Medina demanded that she be allowed to get off her St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)-bound flight moments after the plane had left the gate. The plane taxied back to the terminal, but Medina had reportedly changed her mind at this point and refused to disembark. She was eventually convinced to deplane, but by then, changed her mind once again and is accused of attempting to force her way back onto the flight, assaulting a flight attendant in the process.

Medina was cited and sent on her way for this first ugly incident, but she returned to the airport later that same day, at which point, she allegedly attempted to breach a TSA security checkpoint. According to police, when cops arrived at the scene, Medina punched one of the officers. This time, her luck appeared to have finally run out when she was taken to the Clark County Detention Center on charges of “battery on a protected person.”

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (3)


  1. horseymike

    March 16, 2019 at 6:21 am

    another wack job .

  2. tuono07

    March 21, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Should have been arrested after the first incident.

  3. Mtothe M

    March 22, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Forgetting a baby? That’s one hell of a “miscommunication” between relatives.

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