He’s got a No. 1 country song and a Top 10 country album, but star power couldn’t save Jimmy Wayne from red-faced moment at Oakland International Airport.
The singer was catching a flight home to Nashville on Thursday morning after a local radio show performance when a misunderstanding with airport security left him handcuffed in his boxer shorts at the security gate.
Wayne says he was groggy from little sleep the night before when he approached the metal detector in shorts, T-shirt and a sweatshirt.
“I kept trying to get through and it would go off,” he explains. Wayne shed his sweatshirt and necklace, but the detector still buzzed. “Finally the TSA officer said something to the effect of, ‘Remove your shorts,’ and I thought to myself, ‘Now that sounds a little weird, but I guess it’s okay – I mean they show guys in boxers in the Sunday paper ads, right? I guess maybe between not having enough sleep and not understanding him … I don’t know. I did it!”
Wayne laid his shorts on the conveyer belt to be X-rayed and walked back in his underwear and T-shirt.
“He flipped!” Wayne says. “I ran back to the belt – I thought I could grab my shorts real fast – but the belt sucked the shorts up in the X-ray into the other side. So now I’m stuck in my boxers and everyone’s staring.”
The TSA officer quickly called for backup. “Two Oakland Raiders-sized police officers come up to me and were like, ‘Sir put your hands behind your back now!'”
Wayne was cuffed and questioned for 25 minutes as other airport passengers filed past – some shooting photos with their cell phones. “At least my hair was fixed,” Wayne jokes.
A TSA spokesman confirmed the incident saying, “We had a male passenger come through the security checkpoint who did misunderstand the security officer’s instructions and did pull his pants down.”
Though good-natured about the mix-up, Wayne says it was no laughing matter at the time.
“I was scared to death because I thought they were going to take me to jail,” says Wayne, who, as a teen, lived on the streets for a time as a runaway. “I was arrested when I was 15 and that’s what I started thinking about. Hearing those handcuffs click, it brought back memories I didn’t want to revisit.”
Wayne was released without charges but he says he learned two valuable lessons from the incident: “Don’t mess with Oakland,” he laughs, “and watch out where you take your clothes off!”