Orlando TSA agent recalls risking life: ‘Somebody had to do it’


ORLANDO, Fla. — New video from the Transportation Security Administration shows the moments a scare struck the security line at Orlando International Airport.

The video shows people running in fear.

They were spooked by a bag that was smoldering. Then a loud noise set off from inside it.

Even the person holding it took off.

At the time,TSA agent Rick Perez couldn’t have known what was inside — that it was a lithium battery that exploded.

Instead, he feared it was something sinister, but acted on it anyway — scooping it from the ground and running it away from the crowd of worried people.

“Somebody had to do it and it was me,” Perez said.

He risked his life, but Rick insists that wasn’t heroic — rather another day at work.

“We don’t now if there’s a bad guy here or not until they come through the screening process, so every day every person wearing this blue shirt risks their lives,” he said.

And every day, he says, protecting lives and just helping people has always been his guide. So after the scare, Rick’s especially thankful he can keep doing that.

“I did 20 years with the Army, and that’s me. I love doing it. I love serving the public,” Perez said. “When I picked up that bag, I did think for a second, ‘This is it.’ And it could’ve happened, but it didn’t. And so I live to do it again.


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