With the current government shutdown on the verge of outlasting every other shutdown in American history, the stage is set for unprecedented events, such as D’Allesandro’s Pizza feeding TSA workers.
D’Allesandro’s delivered a stack of free pizzas and “a big old salad” to Charleston International Airport, owner Ben D’Allesandro reports. “We do donations of pizza all the time, but this is the first time it’s been for something like this."
Transportation Security Administration screeners are rated essential by the federal government, which means they’re required to show up for work even if they’re not getting paid. On Friday, for the first time since the shutdown started Dec. 22, they didn't receive a check for payday.
“We know it’s stressful not knowing when the pay is going to come,” D’Allesandro says. “We just wanted to show them we appreciate what they’re doing.”
According to D’Allesandro, “they happily accepted the offer,” when he called to propose a meal of bestselling pies, including The Spicy Benny and Meat Lovers. The delivery was roundly applauded on social media, with D'Allesandro's Facebook followers describing the gesture as "awesome" and "incredible."
But ethics rules are likely to prevent future well-intentioned pizza drop-offs. As The Washington Post reported Thursday, travelers who have contacted the agency’s social media account with donation offers have been thanked and rebuffed.
"We appreciate the gesture of kindness; however, our officers aren’t allowed to accept gifts or donations of any kind. Safe travels," the @askTSA Twitter account responded to a questioner who wanted to know if an airport restaurant or pizza parlor could bring food to agents.
The Washington Post quoted an officer who turned down a cash tip from a passenger. She suggested the supporter instead contact her congressperson.