Forbidden Fruit: Why A Free Apple Ended Up Costing This Woman $500

There's no such thing as a free lunch - or, as it turns out, a free snack.

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Forbidden Fruit: Why A Free Apple Ended Up Costing This Woman $500

Here's how an apple handed out as a free snack ended up costing this woman $500 (Representational Image)


Towards the end of Crystal Tadlock's nine hour flight from Paris, France to Minneapolis, USA, flight attendants on Delta Air Lines handed out apples as free snacks. She wasn't particularly hungry at the time so she threw the apple in her carry-on bag. She planned to eat it during her next flight from Minneapolis to Denver, her final destination. That decision ended up costing her.

Ms Tadlock was fined $500 (or approximately Rs 33,000) by US Customs and Border Patrol for the free apple. 

Explaining what happened to KDVR, Ms Tadlock said her bag was randomly searched as she passed through Customs. An agent pulled out the fruit, which was still wrapped in the clear plastic bag bearing the Delta logo. 

Ms Tadlock said she told the Customs agent that she had just received the apple as a snack from Delta and asked if she could throw it out or eat it. According to her, the agent said no, and handed her a $500 fine instead.

"He had asked me if my trip to France was expensive and I said, 'Yeah.' I didn't really get why he was asking that question, and then he said 'It's about to get a lot more expensive after I charge you $500,'" Ms Tadlock told KDVR. 

On Twitter, Ms Tadlock posted a picture of the plastic bag the apple came in. It says "ENJOY" in huge capital letters. The irony was not lost on Ms Tadlock, who wrote: "False. I did not enjoy the apple. Instead I received a $500 violation, had my global entry revoked (first time I've used it) AND I will be searched on every flight for the rest of my life." She even added the hashtag #DeltaForbiddenFruit. 
  

The passenger told KDVR she's upset and frustrated an innocent mistake resulted in a $500 fine and the loss of her Global Entry Status - which allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival in the United States. 

She said the airline should not have passed out apples to passengers or at least warned them not to take the fruits off the plane. 
 

Many on Twitter agreed with Ms Tadlock, calling the $500 fine "senseless" and "ridiculous".
      

In a statement to USA Today, all Delta said was that it encouraged its customers "to adhere to Customs and Border Protection policies and requirements."

According to US Customs, "all agriculture items must be declared." The agency states the strict policy is designed to prevent against plant pests and foreign animal diseases entering the United States.

Ms Tadlock has a choice between paying the $500 fine and fighting in court. She told KDVR she plans to fight it out.
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