WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Mandie Stevenson, a cancer patient, was forced to postpone her bucket list trip to New York City after she accidentally tagged herself as a terrorist on an online travel authorization form.
- The 29-year-old thought that ‘because it was a genuine error, it would be quite easy to fix.’
- Stevenson, who was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2015, said U.S. authorities did not seem sympathetic and advised her to re-book her trip, costing her £800 (over $1,000).
Mandie Stevenson, a 29-year-old cancer patient, was forced to postpone her bucket list trip to New York City after she accidentally labeled herself as a terrorist on an online Esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) form.
Stevenson only realized her mistake after the application was rejected.
In an interview on the BBC’s Mornings with Stephen Jardine, Stevenson recounted that she “believed she ticked ‘no’” to the question “Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?”, but when she scrolled “it ‘nudged and moved.’”
When she traveled from Falkirk, Scotland, to the U.S. embassy in London to try and convince U.S. officials that she was not a security threat, she eventually had a full visa granted. The appointment cost her £320 ($417), however, compared to the much cheaper Esta, which allows U.K. citizens to waive their need for a full U.S. visa.
The embassy told her that it was “the worst box you could have ticked.” Since it could take three to five days to be granted the full visa, she was also advised to rebook her trip — a trip that has been on her bucket list since she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2015.
She said that when she pleaded, they simply told her ‘change your holiday’, and did not seem sympathetic to the fact that she has terminal cancer.
She explained that she particularly books her holidays “in very specific times” because she gets “scanned every 12 weeks.” She stated that she was “really looking forward to” the New York trip because it was scheduled before her next set of scan results.
She pointed out that the mistake could be done “really easily” by anyone, and “thought because it was a genuine error it would be quite easy to fix but I was quite wrong.”
Simon Calder, the travel editor of The Independent, also pointed out that the question on the form is “completely pointless” since “nobody who was engaged in terrorism, espionage, or genocide would ever tick ‘yes.’”
Stevenson’s rearrangements for her trip cost her more than £800 ($1,042).
In spite of this, she said she was “happy again and keen to get going” through the other items on her bucket list, which include a trip to Thailand, Canada, and meeting football star Steven Gerrard.
Source: Business Insider