Brad Jayakody wearing his ‘Transformers’ T-shirt that caused him flight problem (courtesy Daily Mail)
Optimus Prime, the hero of the series of kids toys, movies and comic books, is the “largest, strongest, and wisest of all Autobots,” protects life on Earth and defeats the Decepticons. He also can create havoc at Heathrow Airport’s high-security Terminal 5.
That’s because he was pictured on a T-shirt worn by Brad Jayakody, 30, who was trying to board a British Airways jet to Dusseldorf, Germany, with four work colleagues.
The character’s right arm is a gun, and Jayakody was ordered to change his shirt, or miss his flight, because of the threat from the image, according to a report in the Telegraph.
“My mate set off the alarms and was searched. But then the guy told me to stop and said, ‘You cannot get on the plane because there is a gun on your T-shirt,'” he told the newspaper.
Jayakody, who lives in the London area, then reports he was threatened with arrest for asking to see a security manager.
“It’s a cartoon robot with a gun as an arm. What was I going to do, use the shirt to pretend I have a gun?” he said. “”I was flabbergasted. I thought the supervisor would come over and see sense, but he didn’t. After I changed he said if I changed back I would be arrested.”
A spokesman for Heathrow operator BAA told the newspaper: “If a T-shirt had a rude word or a bomb on it for example, a passenger may be asked to remove it.
“We are investigating what happened to see if it came under this category.”
In Canada, a passenger wearing a gun-shaped charm necklace was the reason alarms were raised at an airport several weeks ago. WND also has reported a school district’s decision to ban a T-shirt because it contained a silk-screened image of a handgun silhouette.
A T-shirt with a slogan like this bumper sticker has caused trouble for a student in Pennsylvania
In other cases, a student got in trouble over a drawing of a gun on a piece of paper, and a school banned a ballpoint pen because it displayed the name of a gun maker.
Optimus Prime, a toy that converts from a truck to a justice-seeking robot, is “a heroic, brave and compassionate character” who battles foes to pursue his “strong sense of justice, ” according to advertisements.